HARRISBURG PA — Gov. Tom Corbett unveiled a plan Wednesday (Jan. 30, 2013) to privatize Pennsylvania’s monopoly liquor store system, while simultaneously executing a deft political move intended to undercut some of its loudest critics, The Pennsylvania Independent online news service reported.
Corbett said proceeds – estimated at more than $1 billion – from selling state liquor stores would be used to increase funding for basic education during the next four years, The Independent said. The revenue could be used to enhance school safety and security, create an early education grant program for school districts, individualized learning, and math, science and technology courses.
Linking education to the proposed sale may help Corbett short-circuit his opposition, Terry Madonna, professor of political science at Franklin and Marshall College, told the news service. That element was missing in previous privatization efforts by Gov. Dick Thornburgh during the 1980s, Gov. Tom Ridge in the ’90s and Corbett last year, he claimed.
Labor unions have been the loudest opponents of privatization, according to The Independent. They are led by UFCW Local 1776, which represents about 3,000 state workers in the liquor store system. Unions also are among the loudest voices calling for more funding for education. On that front, they are led by the Pennsylvania State Education Association, or PSEA, with more than 180,000 members.
- Read a story by reporter Eric Boehm, titled “Corbett divides, hopes to conquer union opposition of liquor store proposal” and published Wednesday by The Independent, here.
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