We sent out a questionnaire to all of the candidates for governor.
We asked them about whether they support selling the state owned-wine and liquor stores, if the state should have more laws to regulate gun ownership, what’s their favorite Pennsylvania convenience store, and a bunch of other stuff.
We’ll be posting info from the questionnaire. (We also have plans for an interactive feature. Stay tuned, friends.)
First up, here’s a look at where they stand on selling the state owned-wine and liquor stores.
The Democratic candidates are: state Treasurer Rob McCord of Montgomery County; Katie McGinty, a former state environmental protection secretary, of Chester County; U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz of Montgomery County; and Tom Wolf, a York County businessman and former state revenue secretary.
On the Republican side, Gov. Tom Corbett of Allegheny County is being challenged by Montgomery County businessman Robert Guzzardi. Corbett was the only candidate who did not complete the questionnaire.
Wine and liquor
All four Democrats are opposed to privatizing the state-owned liquor stores. Some candidates elaborated on their position.
McGinty said she supports modernizing the system to make it more convenient for consumers and to increase revenue for the state.
“By making modernization improvements in the state liquor store system, including extended hours of operation, improved direct marketing to consumers, and expanded store locations, an estimated $40 million can be generated annually,” she said in her response.
She said she would use additional revenue to fund two important parts of her college affordability plan.
“Specifically, I have proposed a Middle Income Opportunity Grant Program that would increase from today’s very low 20% of middle class families receiving tuition assistance to 65% of those families, while also launching a Dream Scholarship Program which would provide merit-based grants of up to $4,000 annually to high achieving low income students,” she said.
In Wolf’s response, he talked about his experience as state revenue secretary. He said:
“I believe that trying to privatize state-owned liquor stores is inefficient and puts good paying, middle-class jobs at risk. I believe we can always improve the distribution of wine and liquor but the means to this ends is not privatization. As Secretary of Revenue, I strengthened the Pennsylvania Lottery and was able to direct more money to programs for our seniors without privatizing it. Additionally, I traveled around the state to meet with Revenue Department employees and get their ideas about how to improve the department. With their feedback, I was able to implement changes to modernize the department, and redistribute taxpayer dollars to core programming. As governor, I will take the same approach with the state liquor stores.”
Schwartz said the governor’s “fixation on privatization is misguided and wrong for Pennsylvania.”
“However, there is room for improvement through modernization and implementation of new rules that will allow us to better serve Pennsylvanians,” she added.
Guzzardi supports privatization. He said:
It is not the government’s core function to operate, control and promote the use of beer, wine and liquor. There needs to be a “separation of sin and state”.
It is the role of government to tax and regulate. We need the traffic cop.
If the liquor stores had been sold, the proceeds could have been used to fund both pension spike and “crumbling roads and bridges falling down.”
Corbett has advocated for privatization. He repeated the call that in his February budget address.