Next Super Bowl, let's buy beer at the grocery store

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The nachos are on the table, the pizza's ordered and it's time to open a beer or maybe pour a little merlot while we crowd around the TV for the Super Bowl.

Wouldn't it be great if, come Super Bowl time next year, after you load the party groceries into the cart the wine and beer are waiting in the next aisle?

It's called consumer convenience and twinned with consumer choice, it's the plan Gov. Tom Corbett is bringing before the state Legislature to end Pennsylvania's Prohibition-era system of selling alcohol.

Pennsylvania is one of only two states that still runs its own liquor business. This is not a core function of government. It's government regulation with none of the benefits.

Private liquor stores and other outlets will offer a wider selection, compete on pricing and create new jobs and business opportunities in the private sector. Customers will be able to buy beer, wine or spirits when they want to and search for better prices at competing stores.

Another great thing about the governor's proposal is that it will generate critical funding for something that is a core function of government: education. Divesting the liquor business will generate more than $1 billion over the next few years to send block grants to local school districts for early childhood education; full-day kindergarten; more math, science and language training; and beefed-up school security. These dollars will replace gaps in post-stimulus federal funding.

The governor's proposal also sets aside dollars for retraining and aggressive efforts to find jobs for any state store employees not taken on by the private sector.

We need to end the antiquated state-run liquor monopoly and invest the proceeds in our schools and children. Then, next year, I'll be able to twist open a Penn Pilsner that I picked up at Giant Eagle, kick back and watch my Eagles fight it out with the Steelers.

LT. GOV. JIM CAWLEY
Harrisburg


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