Privatization Advocates Toast Senate Bill

Mar 30, 2012

The Pennsylvania Senate has signed off on a proposal that would allow residents to have wine shipped directly to their homes.

An earlier version of the measure would have allowed foreign imports, but the measure that passed in the Senate limits deliveries to shipments from U.S. wineries. But Senator John Pippy (R-Allegheny Co.) said even if the bill only applies to domestic wines, it's still a win for proponents of privatization.

"Don't take this for granted," Pippy said. "This is a significant step forward for wine consumers in the state of Pennsylvania."

State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny Co.) said wineries will have to pay state taxes on wine shipped to a customer's doorstep.

"The 6 percent taxes associated with the sale of liquor in our commonwealth will be collected," Ferlo said. "Wineries will have to be registered and pay a small fee to be formally registered."

The bill still has some hurdles to clear in the House, where Republicans are calling for full-on privatization. A GOP spokesman says direct shipment will be part of a larger package that will include selling off the state's wine and liquor stores. The initiative could be ready for a floor vote in the next few months.