Privatized Liquor in Pa.?

Officials meet Thursday in Philly to determine fate of liquor in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lawmakers are coming to Philadelphia to hear testimony on the pros and cons of privatizing state liquor and wine stores.

Supporters, including Gov. Tom Corbett, see privatization as a way to help the state close a projected multibillion-dollar deficit. Many say a free-market system will give consumers more choices and convenience.

Opponents question how much money the state can raise by selling liquor licenses. They also argue that state employees would be more vigilant in policing sales to minors.

New Jersey is currently locked in a similar debate regarding privatization. Gov. Chris Christie's budget assumes $50 millon in savings from privatizing various government services. Resistance groups, however, are concerned that such steps will negatively affect regulation.

Among those scheduled to testify Thursday before House committee members are policy researchers, union representatives, and Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board CEO Joe Conti.

A state Senate panel heard testimony on the issue last week in Harrisburg.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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