Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
07.11.2013  
 

Privatization Is Political Victim in Pennsylvania

Supporters of dismantling state liquor monopoly expect bid to see more success in the fall, when legislature reconvenes

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
pennsylvania
 
The Pennsylvania State Capitol became the site of political wrangling during the most recent legislative session when, in spite of pleas from Gov. Tom Corbett, the state Senate failed to pass legislation related to the state liquor monopoly.
Harrisburg, Pa.—The drive to privatize liquor and wine in Pennsylvania made it all the way to the goal line but ultimately faltered and failed amid political wrangling.

This March, Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives made history by passing a bill that would dismantle the state monopoly on wine and liquor sales as well as loosen beer distribution and sales. An amended version of the bill had passed committee in the state Senate, where it appeared to have support from enough lawmakers for approval.

On June 30, Gov. Tom Corbett released a statement urging senators to pass the bill and send it back to the House for concurrence so he could sign it into law. “This bill as amended is a historic step, and we must not lose this opportunity to deliver a reform the people of Pennsylvania want and deserve.”

State senators, however, failed to pass it. They reportedly balked at the bill because they couldn’t be assured lawmakers in the House would pass legislation for increased spending on transportation infrastructure, another of Corbett’s top priorities.

With a state budget approved by the July 1 deadline, lawmakers adjourned for their summer break leaving privatization in limbo and Gov. Corbett’s agenda in doubt.

Support remains
“We don’t think it’s dead by any means,” said Katrina Anderson, a senior policy analyst and director of government affairs for the free market advocacy group Commonwealth Foundation in Harrisburg. “We’re confident they’re still hearing from constituents when they return home this summer.”

Anderson said privatization is supported by a majority of voters in the state and the legislature’s inability to pass some type of reform was decried as a failure in several newspaper editorials.

She said after the historic vote on privatization by the House, the Senate was unprepared to move forward on the issue. State representatives had passed a privatization bill that would have dismantled the state-run liquor business. The Senate, however, has favored a milder “modernization” approach that would phase out the state’s role in wine and liquor sales.

The fact that senators were able to advance an amended version of the House bill shows they are more open to a direct privatization approach. When the legislature reconvenes in the fall, Anderson said she expects the debate to start from there.

Republican Sen. Chuck McIlhinney, chair of the law and justice committee, helped draft the Senate legislation. In a statement released July 3, McIlhinney defended the bill as a commonsense approach to privatize the state system and “rejected the special interests who play political game and aren’t accountable to taxpayers or voters.”

He said the bill would allow beer, wine and specialty liquor sales at grocery stores and wouldn’t require consumers to purchase food and alcohol from two separate checkout areas. “My legislation also makes it legal for direct wine shipments from wine producers to our homes—something consumers have been demanding for decades.”

The bill offers “clear direction” on closing state liquor stores and also requires two years of monitoring to ensure privatization doesn’t trigger any negative effects on the state economy.

Opposition from union, beer distributors
Anderson said privatization faced strong opposition from the influential Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania. The group argued that the privatization proposal would spell economic doom for its members as well as flood the state with outlets selling alcoholic beverages. The union of liquor store employees also vigorously campaigned against the measure.

In an op-ed piece published July 7, Wendell W. Young IV, the chairman of Local 1776 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, argued privatization did not pass because the House and Senate were working on “radically” different pieces of legislation and many lawmakers didn’t want to approve anything that would put independently owned beer distributors out of business.

He argued most state residents favor modernizing the existing system because it’s the best way to give consumers what they want while not putting state or private employees out of work. “Modernization is not complicated—and it’s not ideological,” Young wrote.

According to the state’s online lobbying database, $957,493 has been spent on alcoholic beverage lobbying in 2013. The database only had what was spent in the first three months of the year, but top spenders included the United Food and Commercial Workers, which spent $54,038 to lobby against the effort and three retailers, Wegman’s Food Markets, Sheetz Inc. and Giant Eagle, which spent a combined total of $175,439 for privatization. MillerCoors spent $21,961 and Anheuser-Busch spent $37,008 lobbying against privatization.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
September 2014 $575 million
5%
$7,743 million
6%
September 2013 $550 million $7,311 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
September 2014 $163 million
16%
$1,708 million
11%
September 2013 $141 million $1,538 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
September 2014 166
14%
226
18%
September 2013 145 192
     
 
MORE » Released on 10.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • October 26
     
    Pinot on the River
     
  • November 1-2
     
    Temecula Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting
     
  • November 5
     
    Single Vineyard Night
     
  • November 5-6
     
    Southeastern United Wine & Grape Symposium
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: The 'Sideways' Effect »
 
Thank you for this research that confirms what many thought about the pinot noir effect....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Fine for Volunteer Labor Makes Wineries Wary »
 
This is so incredibly asinine. And my taxes go to help fund these over-reaches? No...
Reader: Philburtonj
 
Article: Paso Winegrowers Back on TTB Track »
 
Unfortunately, they will be named Drought sinkhole #1, #2, #3, etc. Really, 11 different flavor profiles...
Reader: Donn Rutkoff
 
Article: Optimization of limited water resources in irrigated vineyards »
 
Very interesting article! Sap flow monitoring was in the past mostly used for research but...
Reader: Virginie Scoarnec
 
Article: New York OKs Out-of-State Grapes »
 
If the resultant wine, using out of state juice,bears the "American" on the label, I...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2015 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Vice President Of Sale...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Nyc Sales Rep
 New York, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Wine & Beer Sales Exec...
 Delaware Beaches, DE
Sales and Marketing
 Owner/General Manager
 Atlanta, GA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Italian Wine Sales In ...
 New York City, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Regal Pasadena Sales R...
 Los Angeles, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Executive Sous Chef
 Paso Robles, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Outside Sales Rep
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Wine And Spirits Consu...
 New York, NY
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Faculty Chair In Wine ...
 Rohnert Park, CA
General Administration and
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.