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Liquor Control Board Puts Price Hikes On Hold

By Jon Delano, KDKA Political Editor
(Credit: CBS)

(Credit: CBS)

Election Returns

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tom Corbett has not even been sworn in as governor and he already has scored his first victory — a delay in hike of liquor prices, so-called handling fees that were supposed to take effect on Jan. 4.

“I don’t understand at this point why the LCB is taking an action like that on the eve of a new administration,” says Corbett.

The governor-elect’s words struck home with the Liquor Control Board, says CEO Joseph Conti.

“It certainly was a major reason why we looked at this again,” says Conti. “It gives us an opportunity to begin a very important dialogue with the governor-elect and the new General Assembly on some new modernization changes we would like to see.”

Under the original proposal, every bottle in a store was going to go up by a $1 to $1.50. That’s now been put on hold until June 30 and here’s more good news. The LCB has announced it will not approve any price increases for the next six months.

“I think that’s great. Happy Thanksgiving,” says Carol Spirawk of Upper St. Clair.

The delay in the price hike is not permanent, but does give policy-makers a chance to review the operations of the state liquor system, including whether it should be privatized, a goal of the new governor.

Conti says short of privatization, the state liquor stores must continue to improve for consumers.

“Instead of a black and white issue of privatize or not, we may be beginning a very important dialogue on continued modernization with some amendments to the liquor code and we’re very excited about that prospect early next year,” says Conti.

And holding the line on liquor prices at least for awhile, says Conti, is a good way to begin the year.

“Any time we can get a bargain, I say drink to it,” says Mary Ann Wellener of Upper St. Clair.