Corbett raps liquor fee increase

    Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Corbett is criticizing a Liquor Control Board-mandated price increase that goes into effect just before he takes office.

     

    But Corbett probably can’t do anything about it.

    Corbett may not like the price increase, which the LCB is calling a “handling fee,” but both Rendell Administration officials and members of his transition team say he likely can’t overturn it.

    The Republican does have the power to appoint new members to the three-person board, though.His first chance will come this spring, when member Tom Goldsmith’s term expires.As board spokeswoman Stacey Witalec explained, Corbett could appoint a new chairman in 2011, even though current chair PJ Stapleton’s term runs through 2012.”The governor can appoint a new chairman whenever he chooses to do so,” said Witalec. “He can designate one of the board members as chairman, who will serve in that position technically at the pleasure of the governor. So he could appoint a new chairman as he saw fit.”The fee increases range from 15 cents to a bit more than a dollar, depending on the size of a liquor bottle.Corbett and other Republican leaders said they’ll make privatizing Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor stores a top priority next year.

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