Liquor Store Privatization Vote Expected Thurs. — Activist Bob Guzzardi notes that the bill to privatize was passed out of the House Liquor Control Committee, yesterday, March 18, and a full vote in the State House is expected on Thursday.
He asks that Pennsylvania residents email the below message be emailed to your state representative.
It is my understanding that you will be voting on HB 790 to privatize the state wine and spirits later this week. I urge you to support privatization. It is time to end the state monopoly and honor consumer choice in Pennsylvania. It is time to end the state’s conflict of interest and get the state out of the booze business. Thank you for supporting privatization.
Guzzardi describes the points of HB 790 as:
One year after the legislation is signed into law, wholesale divestiture would occur. The state would negotiate wholesale licenses to distribute wine and liquor products to stores, bars and restaurants by brand. After paying a license fee based on valuation, a wholesaler would have the exclusive right to distribute that brand throughout Pennsylvania.
New Privately-Run Wine and Spirits Stores
– Would allow for 1,200 initial wine and spirits licenses.
– Beer distributors would have right of first refusal on licenses for one year. If a distributor gets a wine and spirits license, they would be the one-stop shop to get wine, beer and liquor.
– After one year, the unclaimed licenses become available to the public on a ‘first-come basis,’ based on number of licenses available in each county; no county will have fewer licenses available than the number of distributors.
– All license holders must be stand-alone alcohol retail stores, unless owned by distributors.
– A wine and spirits licensee can hold five licenses in the state, but no more than one per county.
– Licensees can’t require memberships (that is, Costco, Sam’s Club, etc. would be excluded).
Retail License Cost
· Licensees can purchase the right to sell wine, spirits or both.
· The cost of a new license for beer distributors varies based on county classes. Wine: $7,500 to $37,500; Spirits: $30,000 to $60,000. Distributors can elect to pay this cost over four years with an additional five percent fee.
· New wine and spirits stores: Wine: $97,500 to $187,500; Spirits: $142,500 to $262,500.
· Licenses are renewed every two years at a cost of $1,000.
· Sunday sale permits will be available at annual cost of $1,000.
Greater Convenience through Grocery Stores and Package Reform
· Grocery stores may purchase a license to sell any quantity of wine. Prices for these licenses would range, based on county, from $97,500 to $187,500. Sunday sales permits would also be available.
· Restaurants may purchase a license to sell up to six wine bottles to go, in addition to beer which they are currently allowed to sell.
· The gas prohibition is removed, meaning that a gas station that has a restaurant license and sells food will also be allowed to sell small limited amounts of beer and wine.
Closure of State Stores
· Once the number of privately-operated stores (including grocery stores selling wine) doubles the number of government-run liquor stores in a county, the state stores must close within six months.
· As the 600 state stores close, the Department of General Services could offer up to 600 additional wine and spirits licenses.
· The PLCB will have to close all state store operations once it has 100 or less stores remaining.
Benefits for Current PLCB Employees
· These include: training and education grants, tax credits for businesses to hire displaced workers, and a civil service hiring preference.
· Transaction scan devices must be used and employees trained in alcohol safety.
· State Troopers would be allowed undercover investigations in licensed establishments, something that does not occur in PLCB stores.
· Only workers age 21 and older may sell alcohol.
How did the committee vote go?
Voting for Privatization were the following state Representatives. If your representative is on this list thank them and ask him or her to continue to support privatization.
Taylor, John – Chair
Delozier, Sheryl M.
Ellis, Brian L.
Killion, Thomas H.
Lawrence, John A.
Masser, Kurt A.
Miccarelli, Nicholas A. ( not voting)
Payne, John D.
Petri, Scott A.
Sonney, Curtis G.
Voting against the people’s wishes are the following: If one of these Representatives is your Representative please call and email your displeasure with their attitude toward consumers and ask them what special interest they are serving.
Costa, Paul – Chair
Boyle, Brendan F.
Davis, Tina M.
Harhai, R. T.
Sabatina, John P.