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Skeptical Legislative Leaders Await Corbett’s Liquor Plan

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - Later today in Pittsburgh, Governor Corbett will unveil his long-awaited proposal to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania. But there are already signs of rough waters ahead in the legislature.

In Pittsburgh Tuesday, Governor Corbett confirmed that he intends to propose a plan to get the state fully out of liquor sales. He advocates using the money that would be raised for transportation, education or offsetting rising pension costs.

“We believe it’s up to a billion dollars if we get full privatization the way we want.”

But while he is a fellow Republican, Speaker Sam Smith says he’s not sure there’s support in the state House for full privatization of liquor sales. He imagines a “hybrid” system such as one where wine and beer might be sold in grocery stores while the state continues to sell hard liquor.

“The last thing I want to do is change to a system that the public would be less satisfied with. So to me, the hybrid might be more appealing.”

Both Smith and the top Republican in the Senate are concerned about how full privatization might affect the availability of liquor in rural areas of the state.

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