Minutes ago Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, dropped what is undoubtedly going to be one of the most contentious matters awaiting lawmakers this fall when they return from recess. It’s his long-awaited plan for getting the state out of the booze business. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Governor Tom Corbett, who campaigned on ending the LCB’s reign, has yet to actually read the bill. Not that its any great surprise; it’s essentially the same proposal Turzai introduced last year. It calls for shuttering the LCB’s 600-plus Wine and Spirits Shops, and auctioning off as many as 1,250 licenses to sell alcohol to the private sector.
If passed, there will be two types of licenses available. “Class A,” of which 750 will be available, will go to big-box style businesses with 15,000 or more square feet. And an additional 500 “Class B” licenses will be available for smaller operations with less than 15,000 square feet.
While Turzai and supporters of privatization are touting the proposed legislation will bring booze drinkers more affordable booze, a wider selection to choose from, and a windfall of $2 billion to the state’s strapped coffers, there’s no word on how the state expects to plug the half-billion-plus it will lose in annual revenue from liquor sales. Corbett is still awaiting a report on privatization from a group of consultants working with his office.
Earlier: Can Record Sales Save the PLCB?