2013-02-13 / Local & State

Number Of Beer And Wine Retailers An Open Question

By Peter Jackson


HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Some Senate Democrats say Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is underestimating the proliferation of wine and beer stores his liquor privatization plan would allow.

Corbett predicts 5,000 retailers would buy the licenses, enhancing customer convenience. But Sen. Jim Ferlo, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Law and Justice Committee, said Thursday at least twice that many businesses will qualify.

He said it would compound social problems and crime in city neighborhoods and college towns.

There's no limit on how many wine-and-beer licenses could be sold to retailers, including big-box stores, groceries and pharmacies, but license holders would face annual fees and varying limits on how much they may sell at a time.

Corbett spokesman Eric Shirk says the administration's consultant bases its estimate of 5,000 stores on the experience of other states.

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