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Pennsylvania

DA: Gov. Corbett's liquor privatization plan is bad policy

John Morganelli says it'll increase underage drinking

DA: Gov. Corbett's liquor privatization plan is bad policy

EASTON, Pa. - The Northampton County district attorney is speaking out against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's plan to privatize the state's liquor system.

John Morganelli spoke Monday to make his feelings known before the state legislature reconvenes next week.

"I don't see any problem here to fix," he said.

Pennsylvania and Utah are the only states to have fully state-controlled liquor systems and Governor Corbett's proposal takes the state out of the business.

"Gov. Corbett's plan means an increase in drinking by our teenagers, more social problems linked to alcohol abuse, including but not limited to crime, domestic violence and child abuse," said Morganelli.

The governor has said the plan would generate much needed revenue and give people a more convenient alternative to state stores. He also pledges $1 billion from the process to education funding.

Morganelli said, "At a time when we continue to struggle with a weak economy, it's mind boggling that one of Governor Corbett's top priorities is to allow hard liquor to be more accessible and available to our young people."

Morganelli said the current system works and he fears the strict enforcement in place now would go away with privatization.

"What you're going to see is retail thefts and we have tons of retail theft cases that come through all the time. Kids will steal clothes, they'll steal cigarettes and now they'll be taking alcohol because the enforcement will not be as precise," said Morganelli.

The governor's plan would increase fines for selling to underage and visibly drunk people from $1,000-$5,000 to $5,000-$10,000.

A final plan will be in the hands of the state legislature.


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