Wolf Floats New Liquor Privatization Plan

Third-party company could run stores, but would have to keep all employees.

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Gov. Tom Wolf has floated a new liquor privatization plan as he and the GOP-led legislature try to finalize the year’s operating budget.

According to the Times-Tribune, Wolf’s plan contains the following points:

• Long-term leases in the range of 10 years to 25 years for private management of retail and wholesale liquor operations.

• Private manager leeway over number and location of stores and prices. The private manager would be required to maintain the current unionized workforce.

• Opening retail stores seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

• Wine sales in grocery stores and restaurants and six packs of beer in convenience stores.

Privatization advocates are skeptical: “Wolf’s plan to hire a private manager to run the liquor system replaces a government-run monopoly with a government monopoly run by a private company,” said Nathan Benefeld, analyst for the private market-oriented Commonwealth Foundation.