PA Gov. Tom Wolf Vetoes Privatization Bill

July 9, 2015

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf vetoed legislation last week that would have privatized alcohol sales in the state of Pennsylvania. Wolf's decision to veto this bill was reasonable and well-informed, and benefits both the economy of Pennsylvania and the health and safety of its residents.

Privatization of alcohol sales would prove to be a financially detrimental decision for the state of Pennsylvania. States with government control of alcohol sales, such as Pennsylvania, generate over $10 more per gallon of alcohol sold than states with privatized alcohol sales. Wolf described the privatization bill as one that falls short of a responsible means to maximize revenues to benefit the citizens of Pennsylvania.

As Alcohol Justice fact sheets and reports have reiterated, privatization of alcohol sales is associated with increased alcohol sales and consumption as well as alcohol-related harm, including traffic injuries and fatalities, crime, domestic violence, and child abuse. The U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force has conducted extensive reviews and recommended against privatization.

Governor Wolf's alcohol privatization veto is encouraging. We urge state and federal policymakers to keep the most effective ways to curb alcohol-related harm at the forefront of their minds when making important legislative decisions. These key approaches to mitigating harm include state control of alcohol sales, limiting alcohol availability, and increasing alcohol taxes.