Here we go again: Members of the Pennsylvania House are bringing back their fight to privatize the state’s liquor stores. But this time around, it seems like the renewed effort is too little, and too late. And comes off as a lame bid to save face after repeated failed attempts in the past to get Pennsylvania out of the business of selling booze. The Inky reports that House Majority Leader Mike Turzai and supporters are pushing for a floor vote before the end of June. But just as with previous efforts, it’s doubtful this latest charge will result in any real change. Though a watered down version of Turzai’s plan introduced last summer still has its backers in the house, it will most likely fall to the wayside as lawmakers tackle bigger issues, namely the state’s budget. And if the bill doesn’t land of Governor Corbett’s desk before the end of the summer, Turzai will have to start over again from square one in the next legislative session.
Lawmakers in support of privatization have been puffing their chests and rattling sabers on and off for more than a year, heralding that once and for all, they were going to get the state out of the business of selling wine and spirits. However, as reported earlier, there’s already rumblings that members of the State Senate aren’t on board with the plan. Now there’s word that some in the private sector, who in theory only stand to gain from a mass liquor store sell-off, have their doubts too. The AP reports that Jay Wiederhold, president of the wholesalers’ trade group Pennsylvania Beer Alliance, believes things are moving too quickly and too haphazardly to succeed. The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association believes the current plan is flawed, and that it calls for too much state regulation, not enough licenses, and excessive costs.