Liquor Privatization
5:29 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Some GOP Lawmakers Want Liquor Money for Transportation, Not Schools

A small group of state House Republicans say if a plan to sell off the state’s wine and spirits stores lands on the governor’s desk, they want money from the sales to go toward fixing roads and bridges.

The measure clashes with the Corbett administration’s own proposal to put liquor privatization revenue into a grant fund for schools.

But Republican Rep. Jerry Knowles of Berks County said he’s not trying to make waves.

"The governor has a good idea," Knowles said. "It’s just that I have a better idea. OK?"

Supporters have said putting more one-time funding into education is a mistake, because some school districts in the past used federal stimulus dollars to fill budget gaps against the advice of state officials.

Crawford County Rep. Brad Roae pointed out the state’s largest teachers union criticized the Corbett administration for linking education funding to the controversial liquor privatization proposal.

"Now if the teachers don’t want the money, maybe we shouldn’t give the money to them," Roae said. "I’ve had nobody from PennDOT tell me they don’t want the money."

House Democrats and Republicans disagree over how much money would be generated by the privatization plan that passed the House, but it wouldn’t be enough to deal with the state’s annual multi-billion dollar transportation funding gap.

Roae and other backers of the new plan for the potential revenue say it should be a supplement for, not a replacement of, any larger transportation funding proposal.