Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Poll: Public supports selling off state liquor stores to balance the budget

Poll: Public supports selling off state liquor stores to balance the budget



This will come as no shock to anyone who has railed against Pennsylvania's state-run liquor stores, but a Quinnipiac University poll released today reinforces those emotions.

The poll found that nine out of 10 Pennsylvania voters think the state’s budget problems are serious, and a majority favor selling the state liquor stores to help avert an estimated $4 billion shortfall next year.

The Quinnipiac survey found that two-thirds of the state's residents want the state to get out of the liquor and wine business — an approach advocated by Republican Gov.-elect Tom Corbett.

Privatization supporters say that closing the state's 620 stores and selling wholesale and retail liquor licenses to private operators could generate at least $2 billion in revenue.

It won't be easy. Other GOP governors have tried and failed to convince the legislature to change the system.

According to the poll, another budget-balancing option — laying off state workers — was supported by 51 percent, while leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private operator was opposed by 52 percent.

The poll of 1,584 voters was conducted in the week that ended Monday. It had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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