From the main site:HARRISBURG -- Efforts in the state House of Representatives to privatize the sale of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania have been called off for the summer, with the proposal's main sponsor saying that he plans to try again this fall with help from the governor.
House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, said after this morning's closed-door budget meeting that supporters "have more work to do" before a proposal will again see debate.
"Right now we can't get it over the goal line," Mr. Turzai told reporters. "It's clear that people are supportive of privatization, it's common sense. Consumers are expecting it. But to get to the sweet spot, to garner the support in the House is going to take additional work."
The governor, who has supported privatizing alcohol sales, commended Mr. Turzai for pushing the proposal farther than it has gone in previous attempts during the past few decades. He said his administration "will be working very closely" with House lawmakers over the summer regarding privatization.
"We have a lot to get done now in the remaining days before the budget is done," Mr. Corbett said. "I think the fall is a better time to complete this."
Mr. Turzai's proposal would replace the more than 600 state wine and spirit stores with 1,600 retail licenses that would be offered first for sale to beer distributors and then auctioned to the highest bidder.
He argued during last week's floor debate that ending the state sale of liquor would improve availability for consumers and extract the government from a "conflict of interest" in both promoting and regulating alcohol sales. Opponents have been critical of the impact on those currently employed by the state liquor stores and on control of alcohol sales.
Debate on the proposal stretched late into the night one day last week, but lacking votes, the measure was not brought up again during the following session days.
"We've come very close, but there has to be consensus," Mr. Turzai said. "I do think people more and more are focused on consumers, on customer convenience, better selection, competitive prices. We're moving forward with that discussion and how can we best get over the goal line."