SCRANTON – A hearing will be held next week at Marywood University to give area residents a chance to voice their stance on the governor’s proposed liquor store privatization plan.
State Rep. Marty Flynn is hosting the April 2 hearing for the House Democratic Policy Committee after the House voted last week in favor of the privatization.
“The issue of liquor store privatization has ramifications on jobs, tax revenue and what kind of state we want Pennsylvania to be,” Flynn, D-Scranton, said in a press release.
Flynn said he believes House Bill 790 was “rushed through” by Republican leaders without public hearings and that the bill is likely to return to the House in a “new form.”
According to House Bill 790, once the bill becomes law, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board will begin issuing licenses to grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies and “big box” stores.
* Grocery stores: For an initial license fee, plus an annual renewal fee of $25,000, stores can sell two 6-packs of beer and up to six bottles of wine per customer.
* Convenience stores: For an initial license fee and annual renewal fee of $10,000, stores can sell one six-pack of beer.
* “Big box” stores: For an initial license fee and annual renewal fee of $35,000, stores can sell beer by the case and up to six bottles of wine.
* Pharmacies: For an initial license fee and annual renewal fee of $17,500, pharmacies can sell two six-packs of beer and up to six bottles of wine.
* Beer distributors: For an initial licensing fee of $150,00 and an annual renewal fee of $10,000, beer distributors can sell unlimited quantities of wine and can have the ability to break a case of beer and sell a minimum of 42 ounces.
Hours of operation also may vary:
* Wine and spirits licensees will be permitted to be open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays, if a Sunday sales permit is purchased annually for $2,000.
* Wine and spirit wholesale licenses can sell between 2 a.m. of any Monday and midnight of the following Saturday.
The plan will close about 620 state-owned stores and auction off 1,200 wine and liquor store licenses. In addition, about 5,000 people will be put out of work; but the plan calls for them to be given extra points toward a state Civil Service Exam, be eligible for other state jobs or receive a two-year educational grant of $1,000 or $500.