Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) and Senate Democratic Education Chair Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) today released statements expressing their opposition to Governor Tom Corbett’s plan to privatize and expand the sale of wine, spirits and malt beverages throughout the commonwealth.

“It seems this governor is attempting to privatize everything from the state lottery to liquor stores,” said Costa. “The privatization of the Lottery represents a significant expansion of gambling without legislative authority. Now this is an equally disturbing expansion of liquor sales which has the potential to directly impact the health and safety of our residents.”

“I have long maintained that we do not need to be privatizing the operations of the Liquor Control Board (LCB),” Costa continued. “What we do need to do is modernize and support the ability of the LCB to operate in an environment where they can be more productive and generate more dollars within a regulated structure.”

“As important, we need to make certain that in the dispensing of alcohol we recognize our obligation to be very careful and very safe,” Costa said. “The LCB’s employees are well-trained and have always done an exceptional job in following the law to the fullest and providing access to products only to those who are of age. There is no motive that would drive them to act otherwise.”

Costa expressed concern with Governor Corbett’s decision to use revenues generated from the sale of the wholesale and retail system to fund school programs. “If we place our focus on modernizing the system, we can use the revenues that are generated for supplementing school funds. We should not pit the future of our children’s education against the expansion of liquor.”

Expressing disappointment in the governor’s proposal and how he planned to use the funds from privatization, Senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) raised several important questions about the impact of the plan on education.

“While our school districts are in crisis, with poorer districts on the cliff of fiscal distress and other districts cutting education programs because of pension obligations, what does the governor do?” Dinniman asked. “Does he use LCB sale funds to help poor schools survive, provide pension spike relief or property tax relief?

“No, he uses the funds to create supplemental education programs in four areas, after he made severe and crippling cuts in basic education funding.”

Dinniman concluded that as a result of the governor’s plan, “liquor stores will pop up on one corner while schools are closing on the other.”

Contact: Stacey Witalec, 717-787-5166

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