When you need to fill a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall without raising taxes, as Gov. Tom Corbett has promised to do, a multi-billion dollar payday sounds pretty good. That's probably part of why Corbett has promised to take a whack at privatizing Pennsylvania's state liquor store system, which House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has estimated could yield up to $2 billion.
But State Rep. Mike Sturla, a Democrat who represents Lancaster County, told the Philadelphia Daily News editorial board yesterday that Corbett might want to check that number. Sturla said the sale of the state stores would probably generate much less, about $500 million, because the $2 billion estimate is partially based on a Price Waterhouse study commissioned during the Ridge Administration that valued the stores at $1 billion.
“Well, if you actually go back and look, the Price Waterhouse study that was done was based on assumptions that the Ridge Administration had given them, which they later then, after hearings, were told, 'No, those are the wrong assumptions,'” Sturla said.
The study was redone after the Liquor Control Board provided new numbers, and the stores were re-valued at between $230 million and $400 million.