Plan To Privatize State Stores Gets New Life

Control of the Pennsylvania governor’s mansion switched parties Tuesday night, just as it has every eight years since World War II.

One place where you may see the impact of Tom Corbett’s election is at the state store.

This new governor has a lengthy agenda — and a lot of problems to deal with.

The looming budget deficit has prompted some to bring up a popular idea — sell the liquor stores — because the sale could raise billions of dollars in cash for the state.

But it’s only one of many reforms that Tom Corbett hopes a new Republican-controlled legislature will address.

Buoyed by a big win on Tuesday, Governor-elect Tom Corbett laid low on Wednesday — holding staff meetings — knowing that he has a major challenges ahead.

“The first official act will be to introduce our reform package that we’d promise the first thing that we would do in office,” says Corbett.

That includes reducing the size and cost of government by 10 percent, eliminating so-called walking around money handed out by legislators, reducing the state auto fleet and ending taxpayer-paid per diems for legislators.

Corbett will be the first governor in nearly a decade whose party also controls both chambers of the state legislature, but will Republicans pass his proposals when it affects them?

“It’s definitely possible. Look, families and small businesses are making those decisions every single day. They’re living within their means. State government has got to do the same,” says McCandless State Rep. Mike Turzai.

Turzai, who hopes to be majority leader in the Republican-controlled House, says the reforms Corbett wants will pass, including an end to per diems and wams.

“When your people are demanding mean and lean government, the discretionary money has to go,” says Turzai.

But one proposal, selling off the state liquor stores, has been attempted by many governors in the past — will Republican control of the legislature now finally guarantee its passage?

Turzai, who will introduce the privatization bill, says, “I was honored that Tom Corbett endorsed my proposal, and yes we are going to run that bill, and I believe it is going to become law.”

Turzai may be optimistic that a Republican legislature will approve the sale of the state liquor system next year.

But it’s hardly a done deal.

Most government privatization plans run into roadblocks — just ask Mayor Ravenstahl on the parking garages or Governor Rendell on the turnpike.

But with one party control in Harrisburg, the prospect of selling the liquor stores is a whole lot more possible today than it was 48 hours ago.

  • John

    This is the worst idea to sell the state stores they make alot of money for the people of PA. and do not use one tax dollar to stay in business !!!
    We will all pay more taxes in some form if these politicians make this mistake anybody that does not think that this is true ask the people in WV. they know and then email me back after your taxes go up and I will say that I told you so !!!

    • UPS Driver

      then why are there only two states in the entire univers or the solar system that control liquor stores must be another welfare sucking parasite employee arent you?

  • Joan

    I have to agree with John and the previous comment. We don’t want more taxes. And, when you say tax cuts, do you mean your wages too. From what I hear Mr. Corbett and his crew already make a pretty good percentage more than the last governor. If you sell the liquor stores the constant flow if revenue will end. Where are you going to get it a year from now. Taxes on food and clothing and other necessities will be imposed. So your pockets still are full and us working class people suffer even more to try to make a living. Unemployment will increase. Money goes out there. Welfare increases. Homes lost. Should I go on. Is this the Higher income earners’ way of pushing out the middle class. Come on. I just hope the smart people in the House and Senate realize what a step backward this would be for all of us. No middle class person would be able to purchase a license or store. They are probably all promised to Wal-mart and Cosco and all those other big companies. Do we Pennsylvanians want to become like so many other states and pay higher taxes? I certainly don’t. I always prided myself in being a Pennsylvanian. If we remove this source of income, there is no telling where we will end up.
    Mr. Terzai made a statement. He said to auction off the stores to the highest and most responsible bidder. When asked about the small business people who would like to make a go of this endeavor, he said, ” I don’t know. We will worry about that later. That goes to show that there is no concern for us middle income wage earners and I take that as an insult. WHY FIX SOMETHING THAT ISN’T BROKEN!!!!!!!!

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