– The Lancaster County House Republican Delegation today voted in favor of House Bill 466
, legislation that would allow beer, wine and liquor to be sold in one licensed location, giving consumers choice and getting state government out of the wine and liquor business.
The legislation would phase out the government-run monopoly of 600 state stores, which was created in 1933. This reform would give small businesses – local beer distributors – the opportunity to expand and grow by giving them the first chance to purchase wine and liquor licenses.
The Lancaster County Republican Delegation - State Reps. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom), Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl), Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield) and Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz) - issued the following statements on House Bill 466:
“It’s very difficult to argue that we should strongly enforce the laws we have while the state is encouraging the sale and consumption of alcohol,” Cutler said. “We’re in a much better position to enforce the laws if the free market handles distribution.”
“All other arguments aside, the fact is that the majority of my constituents do not like, and do not want, their government in the business of selling alcohol,” Zimmerman said. “Government should be working to improve schools and economic opportunity, not selling liquor.”
“We don’t have state-run gas stations. We don’t have state-run supermarkets. Why is it necessary to have state-run liquor stores?” Fee questioned. “Out of all 50 states, 48 of them consider liquor sales to be best run through private retail and wholesale businesses. Pennsylvania should make it 49.”
“There are certain core government functions, and selling alcohol is not one of them,” Greiner said. “The government shouldn’t be in the business of doing something that a private company can do better and more efficiently.”
“I was recently awarded MADD’s Legislator of the Year for legislation I sponsored requiring Responsible Alcohol Management Training for any seller or server of alcohol in the Commonwealth,” Hickernell said. “I find it troubling that while the Legislature strives to reduce alcohol-related injuries and deaths, another part of state government strives to market more and more alcohol to the public. It is a conflict that needs to end.”
“I firmly believe that privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania will end the practice of thousands of Pennsylvanians regularly crossing state lines to find what they believe to be better selection and prices in neighboring states,” Miller said. “Let’s let private enterprise do what it does best and improve the buying experience here. That will be key in drawing the liquor sales revenues that are currently escaping to neighboring states back into Pennsylvania’s economy.”
“Getting government out of the liquor business and putting the sale of wine and spirits into the hands of the private sector will allow government to concentrate on more appropriate functions, such as strengthening enforcement of underage drinking and drunk driving, and providing Pennsylvanians with benefits like increased convenience and efficiency that are best achieved through private industry,” Mentzer said.
House Bill 466 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Charles Lardner