Morning Must Reads: Alcohol and Lottery Privatization, HEMAP Almost Saved!

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports this morning that the latest push to privatize Pennsylvania's liquor stores stalled earlier this week but is now scheduled to begin again next Monday.

With the clock ticking down toward the legislature's budget deadline and summer break, the top House Republican behind the push to privatize Pennsylvania's liquor stores vowed that debate on the measure would resume next week

Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) said between negotiations on the budget that his revamped proposal to sell off the state's wine and liquor stores was far from dead, despite stalled discussions over the last few days.

"It's scheduled to run on Monday," Turzai said as he hurried to the House floor from budget negotiations with the Senate.

But he declined to say whether he believed he had enough votes to get his privatization plan through the House.

For a full run down of the problems with privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania, the Keystone Research Center has put together an issue page here

Speaking of privatization, Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord has put out a newsletter on lottery privatization. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit is the graph to the right on public expenditures on lottery operations in Illinois before and after that state privatized its lottery. As we say time and time again, privatization may in some instances make sense, but you should never simply assume it will. 

In some very good news, WITF and Radio Pennsylvania report this morning that the state House has restored funding to Pennsylvania's Homeowners Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (HEMAP). A similar vote is required in the Senate before the measure can be presented to the Governor.

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