Harrisburg, April 14, 2011 – In response to yesterday’s Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing on the modernization of the Liquor Control Board operations and in conjunction with the Senate Democrats “Budget Savings Plan,” three Democratic senators are unveiling legislation aimed at modernizing Pennsylvania’s wine and spirit store operations.

“We must continue to find ways to improve the efficiency and flexibility of the Liquor Control Board (LCB) and the wine and spirit stores across Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny). “We can continue to improve the customer experience at the stores while generating millions in new revenue. By modernizing the way the LCB does business, we enable it to operate more effectively and tap into the full potential of the agency — so that Pennsylvania’s economy can reap the benefits.”

The legislation, proposed by Ferlo, Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) and Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) would be centered on the “3 P’s” – Procurement, Pricing and Personnel.

“PLCB modernization is an integral part of the Senate Democrats’ $1.1 billion budget savings plan announced today,” Hughes said. “It’s a win-win for Pennsylvania. Not only will modernization generate substantial new revenue to help offset some of the governor’s most egregious budget cuts, it will also improve the customer’s experience and protect thousands of good-paying jobs.”

Specifically, the Liquor Control Board modernization proposal would:

  • Allow the LCB greater flexibility from the Department of General Services and the state Procurement Code to purchase goods and services outside of the code’s parameters and market its services out of state. This would provide savings and additional new revenue streams for Pennsylvania.
  • Allow the LCB to alter markup and proportional pricing to better reflect market conditions. This portion of the proposal includes offering a customer relations marketing program to improve the buying experience. This could generate new revenue between $20 and $70 million.
  • Allow the LCB to hire outside of Civil Service requirements. The LCB is a retail operation unlike any other within state government. The senators said civil service tests and requirements often do not accurately reflect the skills needed to be an effective wine & spirit store or warehouse employee. This and a few other personnel proposals could result in significant savings, according to the senators.

“By ensuring collective bargaining rights for liquor store employees, we preserve the family sustaining jobs our economy needs,” Tartaglione said. “And continued support of hiring veterans should remain a priority in Pennsylvania.”

The senators said they are encouraged by Senate Law and Justice Committee chairman Sen. John Pippy’s (R-Allegheny) willingness to have open dialogue on the future of the state wine and spirit stores.

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