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State Commission Digs Deeper into Liquor Sales

Liquor sales will be included in the items of interest for a commission charged with examining which state services could be better handled by the private sector, though that doesn't mean that the liquor privatization proposal will move any faster this year.

The bill to close the more than 600 state liquor stores and sell some 1,200 private liquor licenses has the support of the House Majority Leader and Governor Corbett. But, even proponents say that the proposal's prospects for passing this year are dim.

Matthew Brouillette, with the conservative Commonwealth Foundation, says that he's not betting that it can pass both legislative chambers in December.

"Marcellus Shale and education reform are probably going to consume all of the oxygen, as well as redistricting for the remaining days," he said.

Jonathan Newman is a former chairman of the Liquor Control Board and a member of the governor's panel on privatization. He said that the state stores' days are numbered, but he doesn't see how a proposal could get approved this year.

"I think it's still going to be a long process, and if it passes this legislative cycle, I will be quite impressed. I think LCB privatization will happen, but my guess is that it will be in 2012," added Newman.

The House has nine voting days scheduled in December, while the Senate has six.