The State House voted 105-90 last evening to privatize the state’s Wine and Spirit Stores. Pennsylvania has been in the liquor business since Prohibition. While the Governor pledged that any funds obtained from selling licenses would go to fund education the House measure doesn’t promise that provision. According tot he bill passed yesterday all of those funds go into the state’s general fund for distribution in whatever manner the legislature decides.
Pennsylvania stands to lose $500 million/year in revenues generated by the sale of liquor. Also because the state sells all booze it automatically gets every penny of taxes without any enforcement expenses. All of that will end if the Senate also enacts the bill and it goes to Corbett’s desk. “Fiscal conservatives” need to explain how they intend to replace all of those annual revenues and fund an enforcement agency. Critics also point to increased law enforcement costs as liquor becomes more available, especially to minors. 3,500 members of the UFCW stand to lose their jobs if the legislation becomes law. This will only exacerbate the Governor’s dismal jobs record.