"The governor presented a compelling, comprehensive plan today, as have other lawmakers who support sweeping changes to the manner in which alcohol is sold and distributed in the commonwealth," Pennsylvania Chamber President Gene Barr said. "It is long past time for the state to get out of the liquor business; it is not a core function of state government. We believe a responsible private system would better improve the buying experience for customers by promoting competitive pricing and increased convenience, while continuing to generate revenue for the commonwealth."
The proposal would provide opportunities for numerous outlets – from "big box" stores to convenience stores – to sell alcohol, while giving new options to restaurants, hotels and taverns, said Barr.
He said Pennsylvania Chamber members support privatization efforts, and stressed that Pennsylvania residents also overwhelmingly support changes to the current system beyond privatization of liquor sales.
The proposal also received backing from the Citizen's Alliance of Pennsylvania.
"Our 'state store' system is a relic of the Prohibition. The current system is wasteful, inefficient, and inconvenient. Its time (if it ever had one) is long gone," said Alliance Executive Director Leo Knepper.
Meanwhile another group, the Keystone Research Center encouraged Gov. Corbett to abandon the proposal to dramatically increase the number of retail outlets for beer, wine and spirits in the state.
"The proposal could cost the commonwealth revenue that won't be invested in education, health services and a stronger economy," said Stephen Herzenberg, Ph.D., an economist and executive director of KRC. "It will also radically increase alcohol accessibility and the resulting social costs."
The union representing Pennsylvania liquor store workers, the United Food and Commercial Workers, opposes the plan as well, saying it would eliminate the jobs of 3,500 members of UFCW Local 1776 and Local 23. It called for the modernization of the stores versus privatization.