Pennsylvania Governor Unveils Plan To Privatize Liquor Control BoardJanuary 31, 2013
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced a proposal to privatize the state’s Liquor Control Board (PLCB) and use $1 billion generated from the process to fund education. Corbett, a Republican, outlined a three- to four-year plan to raise the money through selling the PLCB’s wholesale licenses ($575 million), auctioning the wine and spirits retail operations ($224 million), enhancing the beer distribution application process ($112.5 million) and wine and beer license applications ($107 million).
Corbett noted that Pennsylvania and Utah are the only two states in the U.S. to have “fully state-controlled liquor systems.” The governor says the plan would allow the number of wine and spirits retail stores to double from 600 to 1,200. Corbett’s plan would also allow consumers to buy wine and beer at grocery stores and purchase six packs of beer instead of being forced to buy a case. The governor’s plan calls for significantly increasing fines for sales of alcohol to minors and increasing enforcement funding.
Corbett’s plan faces an uphill battle from political opponents and the union representing approximately 3,000 state store employees. In 2011, State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, a Republican, introduced House Bill 11 to privatize the PLCB, but the bill did not garner enough support. In a related matter, Joe Conti, CEO of the PLCB, recently announced he plans to retire on February 2.