Gov. Tom Corbett hasn't given up on privatizing the state liquor store system.
Not by a long shot.
He made that clear during an in-depth interview with the Sun-Gazette and several other Pennsylvania newspapers Monday.
Pennsylvania and Utah are the only two states with a government-run liquor store system.
To illustrate the idiocy of that, Corbett held up a full-page ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer urging consumers to go to Delaware to buy their liquor and listing the tangible advantages of that.
With that trip to Delaware and purchase, Pennsylvania loses revenue it desperately needs to fuel its economy and, ultimately, the cost of state government. Every dollar in revenue that can be gleaned from sales taxes and other economic churn in private business is a dollar not needed from taxpayers to fund a list of state obligations that goes like this:
First, capital debt service must be paid.
Second, pension obligations, wildly underfunded, must be met.
Third, federally mandated programs and matches for entitlements must be met.
Finally, after that, funding can go to other programs and services.
Given those circumstances, Pennsylvania, like the most successful turnaround states, such as Indiana, must look to gain revenue by selling the value of operations now run by government.
Sale of liquor store licenses to private interests for billions of dollars up front and ongoing fees with the prospect for greater consumer choice, better accessibility and lower prices that come with private competition makes perfect sense.
The only thing standing in the way is a block of the Legislature more interested in pandering to special interests than taking care of all Pennsylvanians by seeking practical solutions to the state's fiscal woes.