After Gov. Wolf’s veto of the liquor-privatization bill, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Dist. 25) and Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Dist. 34) issued the following statement late last week.
“We are disappointed that Governor Wolf would choose the status quo and side with powerful special interests over Pennsylvania consumers," the duo said. "Residents across the state have voiced their opinions that they want to see greater consumer convenience for liquor sales.
“The legislatively approved plan listened to the wants of consumers, added $220 million to state revenues and brought us in line with the systems in place in 48 other states," they said. "It is unfortunate that Governor Wolf has rejected moving Pennsylvania into the 21st century when it comes to the sale of wine and spirits across the Commonwealth.
“We remain committed to our position that Pennsylvania should not be in the business of selling liquor," the duo said. "As negotiations with the governor move forward, liquor discussions will continue to be a part of the debate.”
Handing over the wine-and-spirits business to the private sector was a goal for Republican legislators. The House approved a privatization bill earlier this year that would have created permits allowing beer distributors and holders of restaurant licenses, including some grocery stores, to sell wine and liquor to go.
As private sellers began operating, the state Liquor Control Board would close down its state liquor store wholesale operation.
Democrats opposed privatization efforts, citing state jobs provided by the liquor stores and warning of price increases.
Wolf said he is open to making wine and beer available in more locations, such as supermarkets.