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Pennsylvania Lawmakers, In Philadelphia, Hear Testimony On Sell-Off Of State Stores

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group of Pennsylvania lawmakers visited Philadelphia today to hear testimony on the idea of selling off Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor stores.  The move could fetch $2 billion or more, according to some estimates.

But House Democratic Policy Committee chairman Mike Sturla (D-Lancaster County) questioned number-crunchers on whether the one-shot jolt of selling 750 retail and 100 wholesale licenses made common sense.

“So, I would sell off my asset for 2.5 billion dollars? — which I think is an outrageous number that’s overinflated,” Sturla said during the hearing.

“We believe Pennsylvania will get better services, lower prices, and greater selection on alcohol products through privatization,” responded Nathan Benefield, director of policy research for the conservative think tank Commonwealth Foundation.

State representative Babette Josephs of Philadelphia, a critic of selling off the Pennsylvania state store system, says it would take away more than $100 million in annual revenue that the stores clear.

“They are trying to kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” she said of proponents of the plan.

Benefield testified the revenue would be replaced by taxes under a licensing scheme.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.

  • Jim

    The PA system is old outdated and inefficient. Sales will increase if the private sector is in control and all current qualified employees will find jobs in the new stores. Coming from other states that sell liquor beer and wine in a variety of places makes it much better for the consumer. Just look around.

  • Stan

    Name one service The government runs well. Right now there is so much waste,net revenues to the treasury may be greater to privatize. Employees would have jobs with new private companies unless they are unqualified which are quite a few if you have been to the stores. Unless you have never been to Delaware, PA stores are horrible. Look for additional revenue from restaurants who will have better selections and consumers not going over the borders to buy. This is not even an argument because we live in the USA and do not need government telling us what we can and cannot drink

  • Rick O'Shea

    The taxes collected won’t replace the revenue, they will only pay for the personnel and bureaucracy needed to oversee private loquor stores. The finanacial question is whether the proceeds from the sale now replace the lost revenue going forward. I would say leave it the way it is.
    I’m not a big fan of the government running things, since they end to be inefficient as they aren’t required to make money, however, in comparing liquor stores in PA to neighboring states where they are run privately our system seems better. At least the stores seem nicer.
    The politicians pushing for this are probably looking to benefit from it somehow, either by owning stores or through some other means.

  • James Anthony

    Leave the system alone. It has worked well in my lifetime and I am 68 years
    old. What will happen to the employees?

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