The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Liquor Control Committee today gave preliminary approval to a bill that would privatize the state liquor system.
"This is a momentous first step to bring Pennsylvania into the 21st century and provide Pennsylvanians with the convenience and choice that Americans in 48 other states enjoy," Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement calling today's vote a start in leading legislators "down the path to do something truly historic for the people of Pennsylvania."
"For the first time since the repeal of Prohibition, we have achieved a positive vote in the General Assembly for ending the state’s role as the sole wholesaler and retailer of wine and spirits," Corbett said. "This is clearly a reflection of popular support this issue has."
Corbett came to Philadelphia in late January to sell his plan, which calls for auctioning state-owned retail and wholesale liquor licenses. Money from the sale, plus revenue from stepped-up enforcement and penalties for alcohol sale violations proposed in Corbett's plan, would net an estimated $1 billion in state revenue.
That money is slated to go toward a block grant to fund public schools and childhood enrichment education.
"We believe this bill will allow us to make a significant investment in schools and it also increases penalties and fines, both of which are important parts of my plan," Corbett said. "This is a significant step and I will continue to work with the General Assembly to ensure that Pennsylvanians get the convenience they’ve been wanting for years."