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Privatizing LCB Dead For Now

The leading Democrat on the state House Liquor Control Committee said it's time to talk about modernization and not privatization when it comes to the commonwealth's liquor and beer sales.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) has conceded the privatization issue is off the table until at least the fall because he doesn't have enough votes. Speaking with reporters as a budget meeting between Governor Tom Corbett and legislative leaders broke up, Turzai said legislators need to focus now on passage of a state budget.

Representative Dante Santoni (D-Berks) feels the plan pulled by Turzai was flawed.

"I think when you look at the facts of his amendment and what it meant financially, and also, loss of jobs, and the enforcement aspect of it from a public safety viewpoint, it just didn't make sense," Santoni said. "I think the Majority Leader saw the error of his ways and pulled the bill."

Santoni said if lawmakers want to get something done, finding ways to modernize the current system is the way to go.

"Give them some opportunity for pricing flexibility, give stores — more
hours for stores. Take the reins off," Santoni said. "Allow them to be open more. Allow more stores to be open. Give some consumer opportunities as far as having coupons and things like that."

Santoni said most of the people he's discussed the issue with don't want the state to relinquish complete control of liquor sales.

Governor Corbett has vowed to work with Turzai in tweaking a liquor privatization proposal for possible consideration this fall.