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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – WPHT’s Dom Giordano spoke with Pa. Senator Chuck McIlhinney on Wednesday as he unveiled the Senate’s version of the Liquor Bill.

The senator explained how there would still be state control in the wholesale sector, but no longer in retail.

McIlhinney says the idea that Pennsylvania does not have enough liquor licenses is false.

“There’s 14,000 liquor licenses out there right now where we can buy alcohol, which compared to other states, when you look at the top five in licensed outlets, we’re fourth,” the senator said.  “California has 39,000, Texas has about 20,000, Florida has 19,000.  But when you look at the per capita – the number of people – we’re number one with one license for every 880 people.  So the idea we don’t have enough licenses out there is false, we have plenty of licenses out there.”

McIlhinney explained what he focused on in the bill.

“What we need is the ability for those licensees to sell the products we want to buy, meaning to-go, bottles of wine and spirits, and different configurations of beer, not just in a case, and that’s what I was focused on.  Trying to utilize those licensees to sell the products that we sell currently only in state stores, and start breaking down the limitations we have on purchasing beer in Pennsylvania.”

Giordano asked the senator why the state should be in the business of selling alcohol.

“There’s 18 states that control the wholesale system. Utah and Pennsylvania are the only two retail-controlled states,” said McIlhinney.  “So what I’m saying right now is let’s get out of the retail business, so it’s only Utah left.  Let’s let these licensees that are already selling alcohol and dealing with underage drinking, dealing with people that are intoxicated, let them sell the products we sell in our state stores.  Close our state stores up, let these licensees sell it.  That’s going to increase the value of our wholesale system that we have right now.”

When asked why states are still involved in the wholesale system, McIlhinney said it because the states are making money, which replaces tax dollars.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

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