DeLissio: Pennsylvanians want convenience in wine and spirits stores

HARRISBURG, July 2 – State Rep. Pamela A. DeLissio, D-Montgomery/Phila., released the following statement in regard to Pennsylvania H.B. 466, on liquor store privatization, which was vetoed by the governor today.

The bill would have permitted only beer distributors to sell all three items – beer, wine and alcohol. Grocery stores would have only been able to sell wine. Beer distributors would have had to obtain two additional licenses – one for alcohol and another for wine. Beer distributors would have to obtain two additional licenses – one for alcohol and another for wine. The starting price of those licenses was to be $150,000 each. Conventional lenders would not have financed these licenses.

“As a legislator with a strong business background, I have followed this discussion with interest from a policy and business perspective. The effort to privatize the Fine Wine and Spirits Stores is a long-standing initiative in Pennsylvania. For the first time, last session, such a bill passed the House with three votes to spare, and it died in the Senate. This session, it was voted out of the House, then amended and passed in the Senate. The amendment in the Senate changed the legislation in major ways and within three days, the bill was voted out of the Senate. No analysis was done or hearings held to understand the impact of this revision. One of the biggest changes made in the Senate was that one-time revenue from the sale of the asset was to be spread over 10 years. I stand by the governor, who vetoed the bill.

“We should be seeking legislation to permit all state stores to be open on Sundays with longer hours, not just 25 percent of them. We also should allow the products to be priced more competitively, allow the direct shipment of wine, and expand the wine stores within the grocery-store model. If that legislation had been enacted and convenience was still not achieved, then evaluating the system further would still be an appropriate step.”