Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett
wants to privatize Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor stores during his first year as governor.
A spokesman for Democrat Dan Onorato, Corbett’s opponent, said Wednesday that Onorato isn’t rejecting selling the stores, but he would be hesitant to lose the revenue they generate for the state.
Privatizing state liquor stores is one of those ideas that comes up every year in Harrisburg, but never goes anywhere.
Corbett argues Pennsylvania’s dire financial circumstances will give the plan momentum, much like a multibillion-dollar deficit paved the way for legalized table games at casinos this year.
“You have to keep in mind that I don’t think the last seven governors have faced an economic crisis the likes of which Pennsylvania is looking at right now. I think there is a much greater willingness in the general populace, that wants it,” said Corbett. “The voters, I think, want it.”
A Republican lawmaker who’s long pushed for privatization estimates Pennsylvania could generate $2 billion by selling off state stores. Opponents of the idea, including Governor Ed Rendell, say the one-time profit isn’t worth the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
Both candidates oppose loosening Pennsylvania’s restrictive beer sales laws.