Ad targets lawmaker from Bucks on Pa. liquor privatization plan

A group lobbying for a swift end to the Pennsylvania liquor store system has launched a television ad focusing on a Republican state senator who will be instrumental in getting a privatization bill to the governor’s desk.

 The ad launched by the conservative group Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania comes a week before a Senate hearing on liquor privatization.

“Call Chuck,” says the ad. “Tell him to start siding with taxpayers and get the government out of the booze business.”

The ad is referring to Chuck McIlhinney — the Bucks County senator who’s criticized House legislation to phase out liquor stores.

McIlhinney, who will be chairing upcoming hearings on privatization, has his own plan to create a license for private retailers to sell wine and liquor, and offer that license to beer distributors.

“Literally privatize,” he explained. “You’re going to start to phase out the liquor stores, and you’re going to be buying wine and spirits in private institutions, like Wegmans, like the taverns, like the beer distributors.”

Another conservative group that’s been pushing the liquor issue says it’s optimistic McIlhinney is being sincere.

But the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania ad’s backers, who don’t disclose their funders, say the senator is still being too vague — and the group is prepared to keep the pressure on.

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