Provided that everything goes according to Tom Corbett’s latest plan, boozehounds won’t be the only ones who benefit from the state selling off its liquor stores. In a press conference today in Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania governor laid out his highly anticipated vision for unloading the 600-plus booze outlets currently in the state’s control. According to the Tribune-Review, Corbett said proceeds from auctioning off liquor licenses could generate as much as $1 billion, which he promised to turn over to public schools. If passed, beer distributors would get the go-ahead to sell hard liquor and wine along with beer, and supermarkets, convenience stores and bars will be allowed to sell beer and wine.
Still there’s no guarantee that the plan will fly. More than 3,000 Wine and Spirits Shop employees could lose their jobs if the state store system goes away. There’s nothing to ensure that Corbett cronies won’t get first crack at the licenses. And more conservative members of the state’s General Assembly, which would ultimately have to sign off on any changes to the liquor laws, aren’t exactly on board with easing access to alcohol. WTAE reports that Sen. Charles McIlhinney, a Bucks County Republican who chairs the committee that makes the decisions on liquor control legislation, would prefer if beer distributors were allowed to sell liquor and wine, while the state store system remains intact.