2011 could be the year that state wine and liquor stores begin to disappear in Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh Republican Mike Turzai is the incoming State House Majority Leader, and he wants to shut down the state’s 621 stores and auction off just 750 retail liquor licenses to private owners. That would still leave Pennsylvania with far fewer liquor outlets than many states, but Turzai says the auction is appealing to a new governor who’s a few billion short of what he needs to fund state services
“At a minimum, I think an auctioning off of these licenses, both retail and wholesale, brings you in a billion, two billion dollars – some people think it’ll be more,” said Turzai. “And we could use that up front money to meet those existing obligations.”
Privatization is opposed by some religious groups and state store employee unions. Turzai thinks the Republican-controlled legislature could act on his bill in the first six months of this year.