Pennsylvanians want private business alcohol sales

Pennsylvania voters want the state to privatize the sale of wine and liquor. That's the result of a new survey by the Commonwealth Foundation.

The Foundation polled 800 voters in the state, and found that people in virtually every demographic supported the issue. Overall, privatization was favored by 61 to 35 percent.

Currently, the state allows the sale of wine and spirits only in state-owned shops, where prices are regulated and the same throughout the state. Beer may be sold in bars, restaurants and licensed retailers, but it is limited to 192 ounces per purchase, which is the equivalent of 16 12-ounce cans.

Larger amounts of beer, such as a case (24 cans) or a keg, must be purchased from livensed distributors.

More than 40 percent said they stongly support it, while only 20 percent were strongling in favor of retaining the current law. Those against privatization generally self-identified themselves as not being consumers of alcohol.

Privatizing alcohol sales is a part of Republican Governor Tom Corbett's larger tax overhaul. It would allow 1,200 licenses, which would be sold to retailers. The anticipated $1 billion dollars in revenue from selling the licenses would be earmarked for public education.

The issue has bipartisan support, with 69 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Democrats in favor. Independents favored the plan with 71 percent support.