Republican Liquor Plan Passes State House Amid Budget Talks

Nov 19, 2015

Credit Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

  A divided state House is sending a new proposal to privatize Pennsylvania's government-run liquor system to the Senate, but it's not much different than a Republican-backed plan that Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed in June.

The House voted 110 to 86 on Thursday for a bill that would close all 600 state stores and create 1,200 permits to sell wine and liquor.

Beer distributors would get the first opportunity to buy the permits, and what's left would be auctioned off.

The wholesale system would be leased to a state-licensed importer for a decade, after which it, too, would be sold off.

Wolf vetoed a similar plan in July. House Speaker Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) said this new bill differs only in that it would open up permits for wine sales in grocery stores.

Some form of liquor privatization could pass the legislature as part of a deal to resolve the state's budget stalemate, currently in its fifth month.