Gov. Tom Corbett says his plan to auction 1,200 wine and liquor store licenses and open beer and wine sales to a broad array of retailers would commit the proceeds to Pennsylvania education.
The Republican governor expects the ambitious plan would generate an additional $1 billion in revenue to the state over several years.
“I want Pennsylvanians to enjoy the same convenience that virtually every other American today has,” said Corbett.
Corbett said the plan would generate an additional $1 billion in revenue over several years. He said the money would be used to create a proposed block grant program to help finance certain public school projects.
Corbett says the money would be used to create a Passport for Learning block grant to distribute to public schools.
Most of the revenue, a projected $575 million, would come from the sale of wholesale liquor licenses.
An additional $224 million is anticipated from the auctioning of 1,200 wine and liquor licenses by the state's 67 counties, with 800 reserved for large stores and 400 for smaller ones. Those licensees would be required to set up separate stores to sell wine and liquor.
Other revenue would flow from the sale of beer and wine licenses to retailers including big-box stores, grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience stores. Beer distributors, which currently only sell beer by the case, could obtain an enhanced license that allows them to sell in smaller quantities.
The plan calls for shutting down the 620 existing state stores, a move strongly opposed by employee unions.
The transition to a fully privatized system could take as long as four years. However, the closing of the state stores would begin within six months and to be completed in the second year, according to the administration.
The Governor laid out his plan on Facebook where posted "5 Things You Need to Know" about his privatization plan:
1. Under the Governor's plan, the entire liquor retail and wholesale system will be privately owned and operated.
2. Once the Governor's plan is enacted, privatization proceeds will fund a four-year, $1 billion grant program for Pa. schools.
3. This plan expands convenience and choice for Pennsylvanians.
4. The Governor's plan makes it possible for the creation of a one stop retail shop where Pennsylvanians can buy wine, beer and liquor.
5. You will be able to purchase six packs of beer and bottles of wine in the same place you purchase groceries.