Pa. liquor privatization drive hits wholesale snag

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — What may derail the Republicans’ drive to privatize Pennsylvania’s wine and liquor sales isn’t who gets to sell it — but who gets to deliver it.

A key state senator says now isn’t the right time to privatize the wholesale system.

Sen. Charles McIlhinney (MACK’-ihl-hay-nee) says it’d be more valuable once retail privatization legislation allows more stores to sell wine and liquor.

But House Majority Leader Mike Turzai and Gov. Tom Corbett advocate for immediately selling off the wholesale business now.

Meanwhile, critics warn that privatization could simply empower a few big wholesalers that control top-selling brands in Pennsylvania to the detriment of consumers.

And distillers and wholesalers are vying for the upper hand in whatever regulatory structure fills the vacuum if the state exits the wholesale business.

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