Feb. 26, 2015

HARRISBURG – Citing concern over the increasing inefficiency of the state-owned liquor store system, Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin) today joined a majority of her colleagues in the House of Representatives in approving legislation that would turn the sale of wine and spirits over to private enterprise. Helm is a co-sponsor of House Bill 466, which now heads to the Senate for consideration. Similar legislation was approved by the House during the 2013-14 session but the Senate failed to take action.

“Contrary to what many are saying, the current system is not a dependable cash cow. Revenue is just not keeping pace with expenses,” said Helm. “In fact, the Liquor Control Board is projecting a declining stream of revenue to the Commonwealth’s General Fund in future years. The people of Pennsylvania need to know that. House Bill 466 would ensure that consumers have more choice and greater convenience while eliminating an eventual drain on the state budget.”

To view Helm’s video comments visit: http://youtu.be/i7KPtlb8W-U

Among other things, House Bill 466 would create 1,200 wine and spirits licenses, generating up to $1.1 billion in up-front revenue. As many as 600 more licenses would possibly be issued after all the state stores close. Beer distributors would be given the first opportunity to obtain a license, allowing them to become the only one-stop shops for beer, wine and spirits. Grocery stores would be licensed to sell wine only, with a maximum of 12 bottles per transaction.

The measure also would assign state troopers to the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and, for the first time in state history, subject all wine and spirits retailers to age compliance checks.

In addition, liquor privatization would greatly reduce the amount of tax revenue that now goes to surrounding states, where wine and spirits prices are lower. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board reports that “border bleed” results in the loss of sales and tax revenues totaling at least $313 million annually.

The final vote tally in the House was 114 to 87.

For more information on Helm and her legislative priorities, please visit SueHelm.net or facebook.com/RepHelm.

Representative Sue Helm
104th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Andy Briggs
SueHelm.net / facebook.com/RepHelm