By Tony Romeo
PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Pennsylvania governor Tom Corbett today unveiled his four-year plan to get the Commonwealth completely out of the business of selling wine and spirits.
Corbett’s proposal to completely privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania came just a day after the speaker of the state House said he thought it was more likely the House would prefer a hybrid plan of state and private sales.
But the governor says he’s not discouraged.
(CORBETT:) “I think we’re going to have a very spirited discussion. But, you know… we’ve been nippin’ and tuckin’ away… What’s that?”
(VOICE:) “No pun intended – ‘spirited’!” (laughter)
(CORBETT:) “Thank you. Yeah -– no pun intended, OK?”
Corbett’s plan would auction off 1,200 retail licenses to sell wine and liquor, create opportunities for beer distributors to sell wine and spirits, open up the sale of beer and wine to grocery stores and other retailers, and allow restaurants and taverns to sell beer and wine to go.
Corbett wants to create an education block grant program with the $1 billion he believes would be raised over several years. His office says most of the revenue would come from auctioning wholesale liquor licenses. Auctioning and selling retail licenses to sell wine, liquor, or beer would generate the remainder.
The plan involves shutting down the more than 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores as a prelude to auctioning private retail licenses.