Radio Times

Privatizing Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor stores

June 13, 2012


The Pennsylvania legislature is currently debated a bill to privatize the Commonwealth's wine and spirt stores (AP STEVE HELBER)

Hour 1

For the first time in history, the Pennsylvania legislature has begun actual debate on the privatization of the Commonwealth’s 621 state-owned liquor stores.  The current proposal authored by House Majority Leader Mike Turzai calls for the auctioning off of 1,600 licenses, with 1,100 beer distributors getting first dibs.  In addition, distributors could sell beer in amounts as small as six backs and restaurants with liquor licenses and supermarkets could sell beer in larger quantities.   Proponents of the plan say that privatization will result in greater selection and lower prices for consumers while getting the government out of the retail business.  Opponents contend privatization will have the opposite effect and in addition will put 5,000 Pennsylvanians out of work.  We’ll start with JOHN L. MICEK, the (Allentown) Morning Call’s state house reporter and Capitol Ideas blogger. And we’ll get reaction to the latest plan to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor stores from WENDELL YOUNG, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1776, which represents State Store employees. [UPDATE: House Majority Leader MIKE TURZAI and JAY WIEDERHOLD, president of the Pennsylvania Beer Alliance, were both scheduled to join this show, but had to cancel at the last minute; Rep. Turzai was meeting with Gov. Corbett during our show. This web page has been updated to reflect the changes.]

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