Toepel Wants Government to Focus on Enforcing Laws, Not Selling Liquor
6/30/2015
HARRISBURG – Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) tonight joined her colleagues in a vote to reform Pennsylvania’s archaic liquor and wines sales system. Both houses of the General Assembly passed House Bill 466, sending it to the governor for his signature.

The legislation to get Pennsylvania out of the liquor business, like all but one other state in the nation, includes these main points:

• Current licensees holding a restaurant or hotel license will have the ability to obtain a wine and liquor permit to sell wine and liquor to go.
• The closing of the state stores occurs over time to ensure that there is adequate private-sector service in the area prior to the closing of a state-run store.
• Revenue is generated for the Commonwealth (roughly $220 million) through a license fee by wholesalers and enhanced permit fees.
• Current beer distributors will have six months to obtain wine and liquor permits. The number of permits available is based on the current number of licensed distributors in a county. After six months, any remaining permits not obtained by distributors will be offered to the general public through auction.

“By selling the state stores, the state’s Liquor Control Board would be able to focus on enforcement, compliance and education, rather than alcohol sales,” Toepel said. “Currently, the LCB also encourages the sale and consumption of alcohol. When the government no longer sells liquor, Pennsylvania will not be plagued with the conflict of interest that has been a struggle for so long.”

House Bill 466 would afford Pennsylvanians one-stop shopping opportunities to buy beer, wine and spirits. It would bring more convenience and better choices to consumers.

Without a friendly system in place, many Commonwealth residents have been turned into confessed bootleggers, traveling to neighboring states to purchase wine and spirits, even though it is prohibited by law. This causes “border bleed,” an activity where other states are capturing revenue through purchases made by out-of-state Pennsylvanians.

“The current system costs Pennsylvania an estimated $313 million per year from Pennsylvanians crossing state lines to purchase wine and spirits,” Toepel said. “We are missing out on revenue opportunities because our law is so antiquated.”

Getting the Commonwealth out of the liquor business would not only capture revenue by stopping border bleed, but also in up-front revenue; it is estimated that the state would receive at least $1.1 billion for the sale of the state stores. Revenue from taxes on the sale of beer, wine and spirits would continue.

Representative Marcy Toepel
147th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Alison Evans
717.260.6206
aevans@pahousegop.com
RepToepel.com / Facebook.com/RepToepel
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