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Meadville District Office
900-920 Water Street
Downtown Mall
Meadville, PA  16335
Phone (814) 336-1136
Hours 8 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. (M-F)

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Fairview Township Building
7471 McCray Rd., Fairview, PA
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Cranesville Borough Office
10195 John Williams Ave.
Cranesville, PA 16410
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Capitol Office
Hon. Brad Roae
162B East Wing
Harrisburg PA 17120-2006
Phone: (717) 787-2353
Fax: 717-782-2902

E-mail:
  broae@pahousegop.com

Roae Votes for Liquor Privatization Bill Approved by House
3/21/2013

HARRISBURG – After voting today for a bill that would lead toward the privatization of liquor sales in Pennsylvania, state Rep. Brad Roae (R-Crawford) called its passage a “huge win for consumers.”

“It is not the role of government to provide state jobs for people,” Roae said.  “The role of the Commonwealth is to provide core government services for the people.  Operating a monopoly system of retail liquor stores is not a core government function.”

The legislation – House Bill 790 – would create 1,200 new wine and spirits licenses in Pennsylvania.

Existing beer distributors would have the first shot at acquiring one of the new licenses.  The license would give them the ability to sell wine, liquor and beer all under the same roof.

After one year – the time allotted for beer distributors to apply for the licenses – the rest of the wine and spirits retail licenses would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.

Roae said allowing privately owned businesses to sell liquor will help drive down prices for consumers.

“Prices at state stores have to be high to pay for $20-an-hour clerks who can retire in their 50s with early retiree health insurance,” Roae said.  “Private businesses will do a much better job of controlling costs and delivering lower-priced products for customers.”

As more and more privately operated wine and spirits stores are opened in a county, existing state-operated liquor stores would be closed.  Once a county has twice as many privately owned stores as it has state-operated stores, the state stores would be forced to close.  Once the number of state-operated stores falls below 100 across the Commonwealth, the remaining stores would be closed.

“Privately owned sellers will provide better customer service,” Roae said.  “On ‘fake holidays’ like Presidents Day, there is no legal way to buy a bottle of wine because the union government employee clerks have the day off with pay and the stores are closed.  In 2011, the state stores were all closed the day after Christmas, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  A few months ago, there was a major storm in the Philadelphia area, so the system shut down all of the state stores across the Commonwealth.  The Meadville Mall state store was closed but the other 30 stores at the mall and all the local schools were open.  If you get to the Titusville state liquor store at 9:01 p.m. Friday night, your next legal chance to buy a bottle of wine is right before lunch on Monday.  The current system doesn’t work for consumers.”

In addition to the liquor provisions in the bill, it also would allow restaurants to obtain a permit to sell up to six bottles of wine for customers to carry out.  Grocery stores also would be able to apply for a license to sell wine.

“It should not be against the law to buy a bottle of wine at a beer distributor,” Roae said.  “If you like the wine you are having with dinner at a restaurant, you should be allowed to buy a bottle of it to go.  This bill corrects these things.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Brad Roae
6th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Dan Massing
717.772.9845
dmassing@pahousegop.com
RepRoae.com / Facebook.com/RepRoae
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