Gov. Tom Corbett said his plan to auction 1,200 wine and liquor store licenses and open beer and wine sales to a broad array of retailers would commit the proceeds to education.
Information distributed by Corbett's office Wednesday said the Republican governor expects the plan would generate an additional $1 billion in revenue to the state over several years.
Corbett's office said most of the revenue would come from auctioning wholesale liquor licenses. Auctioning and selling retail licenses to sell wine, liquor or beer would generate the remainder.
"Pennsylvania and Utah are the only two states in the country who have fully state-controlled liquor systems," Corbett said. "Our plan sells both the wholesale and retail arms of the state-run liquor business."
The plan involves shutting down the more than 600 state-owned wine and liquor stores as a prelude to auctioning private retail licenses.
"My plan gets the state completely out of the liquor business. The state will no longer be a marketer of alcohol; instead, it will now focus on its role as a regulator," Corbett said. "It also creates an unprecedented opportunity for economic expansion for private sector employers while remaining revenue neutral for the state."
Corbett said the money would be used to create a Passport for Learning block grant to distribute to public schools.