Gov.-elect displeased with LCB ‘handling fee’

    Pennsylvania Governor-elect Tom Corbett isn’t happy about a new Liquor Control Board handling fee that will go into effect a few weeks before he takes office.

    The levy will increase costs by fifteen cents to a bit more than a dollar, depending on the size of a bottle.

    Corbett may not like the price increase, 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.

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    His first chance will come this spring, when member Tom Goldsmith’s term expires.

    As board spokeswoman Stacey Witalec explains, 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,” Witalec said. “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.”

    Corbett and other Republican leaders say they’ll make privatizing Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor stores a top priority next year.

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