House Republican leaders want to auction off liquor licenses to private companies to fill budget shortfalls. It's been tried many times in the past. But lawmakers from our area say it might actually work this time.
Senator John Eichelberger had a town hall meeting in Martinsburg. And the main topic was the state budget. He says the budget shortfalls from losing the I-80 tolls, the Philadelphia casino not opening, and the court order to pay back money to the malpractice funds are making lawmakers look at selling assets like Wine and Spirits.
But Representative Scott Conklin says we need to look at the long term, and the money we get up front isn't worth losing the yearly revenue from Wine and Spirits.
House Republican Whip Mike Turzai says selling off the licenses will get us 2 billion dollars up front and 500 million every year in taxes. He says customers will have better prices and a bigger selection, and it will solve the financial crisis without raising taxes.
People that talked with WTAJ said that's a good thing. But they're not sure about selling the stores, because the government won't have any control and the prices could actually go up. But most people said they just didn't know how they felt, until someone could tell them definitively how it would affect prices.
Representative Conklin also said that Wine and Spirits and the Lottery are the only things in the state actually making money. So it wouldn't make sense to sell either of them.