Liquor privatization hearings nearing an end in Pa.

    A series of hearings on liquor privatization in Pennsylvania is nearing an end in the state Senate.

    Next week, lawmakers plan to finish up a trio of gatherings spurred by the House’s passage of a plan in March to phase out the state’s wine and spirits stores.

    Pro-privatization administration

    Gov. Tom Corbett has blasted state senators for dragging their feet on the issue.

    But Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who helped draft the administration’s privatization plan, says the Senate has always been “deliberative.”

    He says senators should heed the messages they’re getting from Pennsylvanians.

    “They want the same convenience, they want the same selection, they want the same competitive pricing when it comes to the availability of wine and spirits that the citizens of 48 other states already enjoy,” Cawley said Tuesday. “So we are going to try to provide our bosses, the people of Pennsylvania, what it is that they want.”

    Declining support?

    A recent Franklin and Marshall College poll shows support for liquor privatization across the state is on the decline.

    Forty-seven percent of respondents to a May survey back getting rid of the state stores — a drop of six points since February.

    The administration has been invited to testify at the final hearing, along with two unions representing state wine and spirits store employees.

    A proposal incorporating the findings of all three hearings isn’t expected until mid-June.

    But the committee chairman, Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, R-Bucks, has also suggested the issue could wait until fall.

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