Wine and Liquor Sales Not a Core Function of Government, Lancaster GOP Delegation Says
HARRISBURG – The Lancaster County House Republican delegation hailed tonight’s positive vote by both houses of the General Assembly sending legislation, House Bill 466, to reform Pennsylvania’s antiquated liquor and wine sales system to Gov. Tom Wolf for his signature.
The legislation gets Pennsylvania government out of the business of selling wine and liquor, like nearly every other state in the Union, and moves it into the 21st century. The main points of the legislation are:
• Current licensees holding a restaurant or hotel license will have the ability to obtain a wine and liquor permit to sell wine and liquor to go.
• The closing of the operation of the state stores occurs over time to ensure that there is adequate private-sector service in the area prior to the closing of a state-run store.
• Revenue is generated for the Commonwealth (roughly $220 million) through a license fee by wholesalers and enhanced permit fees.
• Current beer distributors will have six months to obtain wine and liquor permits. The number of permits available is based on the current number of licensed distributors in a county. After six months, any remaining permits not obtained by distributors will be offered to the general public through auction.
State Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield) and Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl), who all voted for House Bill 466, issued the following statement following the Senate’s passage of the measure:
“It’s very hypocritical for the state of Pennsylvania to be strongly enforcing drunk driving and underage drinking laws when it is the very entity that has a monopoly on the sales of wine and spirts and is spending money to advertise and encourage the sale and consumption of alcohol. We’re in a much better position to enforce those laws if the free market handles distribution.
“In fact, the majority of our constituents do not like, and do not want, their government in the business of selling alcohol. Government should be maintaining infrastructure and providing public safety, not selling alcohol.
“House Bill 466 would afford Pennsylvanians with benefits like increased convenience and efficiency that are best achieved through private industry. Across our nation, 48 states believe liquor sales are best run through private retail and wholesale businesses. We encourage Gov. Wolf to sign House Bill 466 into law and make Pennsylvania the 49th.”
Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner