“Culture Of Incompetence”: For-Profit Foster-Care Giant Is Leaving Illinois

Source: Aram Roston, BuzzFeed, April 17, 2015

National Mentor, a $1.2 billion company with a history of trouble at its homes for at-risk children, says departure from the state has “absolutely” nothing to do with a critical inspector general investigation… Investigators from the inspector general of the Illinois child welfare agency found that Mentor, the subject of a recent BuzzFeed News investigation, put two girls in the troubled home of a foster mother it oversaw even though she had previously committed fraud and had abandoned a 9-year-old special-needs foster son by leaving him at Mentor’s own office “without notice or explanation.” The girls, 11 and 12 years old, “frequently appeared dirty and unkempt,” the report said, and the older one regressed in school. … In February, BuzzFeed News examined problems at the company, including violent child deaths and sex abuse. In Maryland, a National Mentor foster father sexually molested foster son after foster son over an 11-year stretch. In Texas, in 2013, a 2-year-old named Alexandria Hill was murdered by her National Mentor foster mother, Sherill Small. Mentor’s problems in Texas were widespread: Mentor ranked dead last among large foster care providers, based on the rate of severe violations found by state inspectors. Over the last two years, Mentor racked up more “high” deficiencies — the worst kind — per home than any other provider with at least 200 homes. Former workers told BuzzFeed News that the search of high profit margins meant child safety suffered — a charge the company denies. … In Illinois, investigators also faulted Mentor for a key part of its business model. In several states, including Illinois, Mentor itself does not contract with the state. Instead, it works with a nonprofit, Alliance Human Services Inc., which wins the contract and pays much of the money to Mentor. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company explained that it uses this strategy “for states and local governments that prefer or choose not to enter into contracts with for-profit corporations” to provide foster care or other services. …

New county leader brings new perspective on privatization

Source: Bethany Rodgers, newspost.com, April 17, 2015

So apparently, it’s cheaper for the county to collect its own carcasses. That’s why — Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner on Wednesday explained — the county will no longer outsource its deer carcass removal operations. …. Returning these cleanup duties to the Division of Public Works and ending the private contract will save the county about $20,000 a year, Gardner said. And in her opinion, the example illustrates why relying on the private sector isn’t always the better, cheaper, faster option.

Special report: Universities

Source: Economist, Vol. 414 no. 8931, March 28, 2015

Privatisation
Mix and match
Both provision and funding of higher education is shifting towards the private sector…

…In most European countries the state pays 80-100% of the costs of tuition. The main advantages of this model are equity and cost control. Where it works well—in northern Europe—graduate education levels are uniformly high. Where it works badly—in southern Europe—they are uniformly low. American uses mixed funding, with individuals paying most of the costs of tuition and the government helping out with loans and grants. In some countries with similar models, such as Japan and South Korea, individuals and families pick up the tab. These systems tend to be better funded and more expensive than the European ones (see chart 4) because people fork out readily, and costs are harder to control…. Another option is to make individuals pay more. In America, retrenchment in state budgets has pushed up tuition fees. In California, for instance, they have tripled over 15 years, and a further 28% rise is proposed. Outside America, the first big shift towards private funding happened in Australia, where tuition fees were jacked up in the late 1980s. A host of other countries followed, including New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, some of the former Soviet republics, Britain and Thailand…. Another source of private funds for universities is philanthropy. Endowments at some American universities dwarf income from fees….

….The biggest provider of higher education that nobody has ever heard of is Laureate, an American for-profit education company with revenues of $4 billion, nearly 1m students and 70,000 staff. It does not promote its brand because it prefers to be known through the names of the 80-plus universities and colleges it owns all over the world….

Why Urban Hospitals Are Leaving Cities for Fancy Suburbs

Source: Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, April 14, 2015

….Currently, hospital relocations are planned or underway in South and Central Florida, eastern Tennessee, central Georgia, Birmingham, Ala., and northeast Ohio. Some have stirred controversy, as in Belleville:

— Just west of Fort Lauderdale, HCA Inc., a for-profit hospital chain, plans to close Plantation General Hospital and open a new hospital seven miles away in more affluent Davie, near a medical school. “It’s all about greed,” said Plantation Mayor Diane Bendekovic. When HCA offered to keep some outpatient services in town, she told them: “Don’t throw Plantation any crumbs.”

— Tennova Healthcare is moving its flagship Physicians Regional Medical Center near downtown Knoxville, Tenn. closer to higher-income suburbs eight miles west. “Clearly …they want to be near the better zip codes” said Tony Spezia, CEO of Covenant Health, owner of Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, which will become the last general hospital downtown. Tennova is owned by Community Health Systems, a large for-profit hospital system.

— Just outside Cleveland, Lakewood Hospital in Lakewood, Ohio, which is managed by the Cleveland Clinic, is slated to close in 2016, and patients will be directed to the Clinic’s newer Fairview Hospital three miles away or to another facility being built in Avon, 13 miles away. Both Fairview and Avon are higher-income towns. Lakewood officials say losing the hospital and its 1,000 employees could have a prolonged impact…..

….Hospital officials point to their aging, landlocked facilities and argue it is cheaper to build, rather than renovate. What they don’t say publicly is how geography is often economic destiny for a hospital, especially at a time of increasing financial pressure as a result of Medicare funding cuts, including penalties that may result from new pay-for-performance measures in the Affordable Care Act. By moving to wealthier areas, hospitals can reduce the percent of uninsured and lower-paying Medicaid patients, while increasing the proportion of privately insured patients – what hospitals refer to as attracting better “payer mix.” That’s also why they locate outpatient centers and medical offices in affluent suburbs. But relocations often spark anger from those left behind, who worry about loss of jobs and of access to care, particularly for the poor. When the hospitals are nonprofits, like St. Elizabeth’s, questions loom larger because they are exempted from taxes in exchange for providing benefits to the community. “Hospitals were established in inner cities where the greatest needs were and now, essentially, that charity obligation has gone by the wayside as they are looking at their bottom line,” said Gerard Anderson, director of the Center for Hospital Finance and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Even nonprofit hospitals want to be near wealthier residents. “You move to where the money is,” he said….

Failed Hospital Deal Reveals Ties to Janek

Source: Terri Langford and Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune, April 16, 2015

Three years ago, a company called Geo Care Inc. failed to win a contract from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to privatize the Kerrville State Hospital, one of the state’s 10 psychiatric facilities. So the company’s lobbyist, Frank Santos, circled back and provided HHSC Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek with a blueprint for how the agency could successfully privatize other state hospitals — maybe Austin, Kerrville, San Antonio and Rusk — which would then allow Santos’ client to bid for the work. …. The emailed communications between Santos and Janek, as well as phone calls and meetings, appear to break no laws. In fact, the state’s own statutes allow vendors to approach government agencies with “public-private partnership” ideas. But the optics for Janek, who has been bombarded with calls for his resignation, are something else entirely.
Related:
Texas Ditches Plan to Privatize Terrell State Hospital
Source: Terri Langford, Texas Tribune, March 25, 2015

A plan to privatize Terrell State Hospital is dead following a scathing audit that raps the state health commission for bypassing its own contracting procedures. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission canceled the deal — which was still being negotiated — immediately following the Wednesday release of a report by Texas State Auditor John Keel, commission spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said. The review of the deal is the latest setback for Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek. The commission is already being investigated for the way it awarded a $20 million anti-Medicaid fraud software deal to a single bidder in 2012. And late last year, a state audit dinged the agency for a messy telecommunications contract with AT&T that ballooned from $48 million to $80 million. In this latest report, the state auditor took issue with the commission’s October decision to tentatively select Geo Care LLC to run the hospital, one of the state’s 10 psychiatric facilities. The audit found that the commission undervalued the contract and skipped having the deal blessed by the Texas attorney general’s office, as required…. GEO Care, which eventually became the company known as Correct Care LLC, issued a statement expressing regret over the state’s decision not to proceed. …

Audit reviewing state contract to run North Texas psychiatric facility
Source: Statesman, February 7, 2015

As state health officials continue to take fire over the agency’s technology contracts, they’re facing another investigation into a proposed deal with a private company to run a North Texas psychiatric facility. The State Auditor’s Office is conducting a review into whether the Health and Human Services Commission followed state procurement laws when it awarded Correct Care Solutions a tentative contract to run Terrell State Hospital. The cost and the scope of the proposed deal aren’t publicly known.

Deadlines continue to pass for state hospital privatization
Source: Gary E. Lindsley, Terrell Tribune, January 16, 2015

State officials had hoped to have a new operator for Terrell State Hospital by summer 2014. Then they hoped to have a new operator in place by early fall. That, of course, changed to Jan. 1. Jan. 1 has come and gone and Texas Department of Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek still does not have a signed contract with Correct Care Solutions. CCS, according to state officials, operates six residential treatment hospitals in Florida, South Carolina and Texas that care for about 2,000 patients. Former state Rep. Lance Gooden on Jan. 8 told members of the Rotary Club of Terrell that a contract should be signed between Janek and CCS officials in the next few weeks. After that, it will take several months to work out the transition from state to CCS operation, according to Gooden…..

Column: Janek’s push for urgency in Terrell State Hospital privatization effort questioned
Source: Mike Elswick, Terrell Tribune, January 16, 2015

One of the big mysteries of the whole privatization push the executive commissioner of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services for putting operations of Terrell State Hospital in the hands of a private operator has been his sense of urgency. … It is baffling to those watching this convoluted process as to why he has placed such tight timelines on awarding a bid and of getting operations out of the state’s hands. After all, Terrell State Hospital has been a state operated institution since the 1880s. …. Unfortunately, Janek and the commission have practically ignored local input into the process and the details of the bid process have been so scant that it almost seems as if the apparent recipient of the bid, Geo Care’s Correct Care Solutions, was predetermined long before a single bid was submitted. In fact, the name of Geo Care was among those mentioned as potential operators long before bids were officially accepted. ….

Bid deadline extended again for Terrell State Hospital privatization proposals
Source: Gary E. Lindsley, Terrell Tribune, August 10, 2014
(subscription required)

The deadline for submitting proposals to operate Terrell State Hospital has been extended yet again.
Dr. Kyle Janek, who is the Texas Department of Health Human Services executive commissioner, originally set up a schedule which could have seen someone other than the state running the mental health facility by Sept.15….

Privatized hospital, hidden woes?
Source: Andrea Ball, Austin American-Statesman, June 30, 2014
(subscription required)

State leaders have quietly taken steps over the past year to privatize a troubled psychiatric hospital, a move that, if successful, could hide much of its work from public view. Earlier this month, the Department of State Health Services solicited bids to operate Terrell State Hospital, a Northeast Texas psychiatric facility that houses about 250 people with severe mental illnesses. The hospital came close to losing millions of dollars in federal funding last year after Medicare investigators said widespread problems threatened patients’ lives. The state has unsuccessfully tried to privatize its psychiatric hospitals multiple times over the past decade, saying a for-profit company might help save taxpayer money while caring for some of the most vulnerable people in Texas. This time, state leaders say they’re not seeking to save money, but rather to improve patient services. But paying an outsider to run Terrell State Hospital would make it much harder for the public to know what goes on there. Even when they take taxpayer money, the Texas Public Information Act doesn’t always apply to privately owned companies, which can withhold basic information that state hospitals are typically required to release.

Manchester Shelter To Close Rather Than Admit People Who Are Drunk Or On Drugs

Source: Jesse Leavenworth, Hartford Courant, April 15, 2015

Rather than comply with a state directive to admit homeless people who are active alcohol- and drug-abusers, the organization that runs the local emergency shelter will close the 40-bed facility by July 1. The board of directors of the Manchester Area Conference of Churches Charities decided recently to decline state money for the Main Street shelter, MACC Executive Director Beth Stafford said Wednesday. Funding from the state Department of Housing — $174,000 of the total $330,000 shelter budget — would be contingent on the shelter’s admitting people who are actively drinking and using drugs beginning with the next fiscal year, Stafford said. … The state is not requiring shelters to admit anyone who is an obvious safety risk, DiLella said. However, in some cases, shelter staff have sent homeless people to the emergency room who were under the legal blood-alcohol limit to drive, he said….

Why the federal government still sometimes doesn’t obey its own minimum wage laws

Source: Lydia DePillis, Washington Post, Wonkblog, April 10, 2015

….Contractors on federal land are supposed to make a bit more than that — but over the years, the laws that require it have been sparsely enforced and widely violated. And loopholes make sure fewer workers are covered in the first place. Take Glover. Groundskeepers are covered by the Service Contract Act, which dictates that they be paid a “prevailing wage” set by the Department of Labor. In D.C., the wage for groundskeepers is $13.07 — which would make a big difference to Glover, who lives on a cot in his sister’s basement in Maryland because he can’t afford his own place. … The Smithsonian Institution, which runs the zoo, says that Service Contract Act doesn’t cover him. Spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson says the Friends of the National Zoo, a member-supported nonprofit that employs all the maintenance and concessions workers, isn’t primarily concerned with providing services covered by the Act, so the law shouldn’t apply to the whole contract….. In its complaint, Good Jobs Nation says in total the violations have deprived 65 workers of $1,578,700 in wages at three workplaces over the two years the statute covers. Their findings illustrate the difficulty the federal government has had in enforcing its own laws since they were passed decades ago….

Progress on transparency in outsourcing

Source: WFSE, Hotline, April 16, 2015

Federation members won a huge first step toward full transparency when the state wants to outsource state employees’ work.

The House on Wednesday (April 15) adopted an amendment to Sen. Mark Miloscia’s government transparency bill (SSB 5081) that embodies concepts from the Federation-initiated Taxpayer Protection Act proposal (HB 1915) that stalled in a House committee.

The amendment sponsored by Rep. Sam Hunt of the 22nd Dist. helps corral the abuses on work orders and change orders by private contractors. The Hunt Amendment would post on the Department of Enterprise Services website any increase in the cost or scope of an existing outsourcing contract. The Hunt Amendment also calls for information on the DES website on any cost savings or efficiency information that agencies use to outsource state employees’ work under the competitive contracting statute.

A previous amendment adopted by the House State Government Committee that would have put most of the Federation-initiated Taxpayer Protection Act language into the Miloscia bill was ruled out of order because it went beyond the Miloscia bill’s original subject matter.

The House also tacked on another amendment to help our Higher Education members’ efforts for budget transparency at their respective colleges and universities. The amendment sponsored by Rep. Larry Haler of the 8th Dist. requires the education data center to post on its data dashboard actual expenditure records of each institution of higher education. The Haler Amendment also requires each institution of higher education to submit to the education data center its actual expenditure records within 90 days of the adoption of its annual fiscal year budget.

With those amendments, SSB 5081 passed the House 97-1. It now goes back to the Senate for acceptance or rejection of the House amendments.
Related:
Bipartisan outsourcing accountability bill introduced
Source: WFSE, Hotline, February 2, 2015

A Federation-initiated bill to open proposed outsourcing of state jobs to more public scrutiny has been introduced in the Legislature. House Bill 1915, the Taxpayer Protection Act, would increase cost-effectiveness, transparency and accountability in outsourcing of state work. It’s similar to 2014 legislation that gained national attention, passed the state House and was the focus of a special Senate committee hearing.

Privatization Dogma Confronts Reality at Lawrence Livermore Lab

Source: Robert Weissman, Huffington Post, April 7, 2015

…Long managed by the University of California as part of the nation’s nuclear research infrastructure, Livermore had serious management problems, including significant security-related issues. But privatization of the university management arrangement turned out to make things worse, according to numerous published reports. A consortium headed by Bechtel took over operation of Lawrence Livermore in 2007. Although the Bechtel group had said it would add jobs at Livermore, in fact it slashed them, from 9,400 in 2005 to 6,800 several years after the privatization. Part of the job loss was due to cuts in federal spending on the lab, though funding losses would eventually be restored. The lost jobs were not. In 2011, The New York Times reported that “Lynda Seaver, a lab spokesperson, said spending on staff and operations had fallen because of a substantial increase in management fees.”… Indeed, reports are that management costs have drained a couple hundred million dollars — $40 million a year — from the operations of Lawrence Livermore and of Los Alamos National Laboratory (operated now by the same Bechtel consortium) since privatization….
Related:
Employee Lawsuit Exacerbates Issues at Livermore Lab
Source: John Upton, New York Times, September 10, 2011

But in 2008, after the United States Department of Energy stripped a contract to run the lab from the University of California and handed it to a mostly private-sector coalition led by Bechtel, the contracting giant based in San Francisco, Mrs. Barraza was laid off. …Privatization of the lab’s management was supposed to lead to greater efficiency and increased employment, but instead it led to cutbacks that have left the lab with around 6,800 permanent employees, down from some 9,400 in 2005. Some scientists at the lab contend that the quality of scientific research has suffered, as evidenced by a sharp drop in the number of peer-reviewed research papers produced by lab employees. Security risks, which had helped prompt the Energy Department to overhaul lab management, have remained a problem. And Livermore’s biggest project, the National Ignition Facility, a giant array of lasers designed to fuse hydrogen atoms, has been plagued by delays, cost overruns, and heath and safety concerns.

Wagner to propose liquor privatization bill

Source: Greg Gross, York Dispatch, April 14, 2015

A York County senator says he plans to introduce his own version of a liquor store privatization bill this session. Though the Pennsylvania House already sent a bill to the Senate that would put liquor sales mainly in the hands of the private sector, Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, said his bill will allow beer sellers to also offer spirits and wine, gradually phasing out the state store system. No new licenses would be created under Wagner’s plan, but it would privatize the state-run wholesale system….House bill: Under another measure, House Bill 446, all but 100 of about 600 state-owned and -operated liquor stores would gradually close. The state would be allowed to sell 1,200 licenses for private retailers to sell wine or liquor, or both, and it would give beer distributors the first shot at buying those licenses at a steep discount. Some grocery stores would also be able to apply for licenses, and the state’s wholesale licenses would also be sold off. As for beer laws, beer distributors would be able to sell six-packs. Restaurants, which now can sell 12-packs of beer for takeout, would be able to sell up to a case, in six-pack increments. The state-run liquor stores generate about $80 million annually for the state’s general fund. Wagner’s plan: Wagner began seeking fellow senators to co-sponsor his bill at the end of March and has already had seven co-sponsors sign on, High said on Tuesday….
Related:
Alcohol-sales privatization bill heads to Senate
Source: Pennsylvania Business Daily, February 26, 2015

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry praised the state’s House of Representatives on Thursday after it passed a bill that would end the commonwealth’s monopoly on alcohol sales. …. The House passed the bill by a vote of 144-87, advancing it to the Senate. If the Senate passes the bill, it would land on Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk to sign it into law.

Koch-Backed Super PAC Launches Advocacy Campaign
Source: Abby Smith, Politics PA, January 7, 2015

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are dipping their toes into Pennsylvania state politics. The American Future Fund, an Iowa-based super PAC founded by former Mitt Romney aides and linked to the Koch brothers, announced a multimedia advertising and advocacy effort Wednesday. The statewide campaign aims to encourage legislators’ efforts regarding the “3 Ps: pension reform, paycheck protection and liquor privatization.”

Privatizing liquor won’t yield a pot of gold for the state budget
Source: David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 ∙ Patriot News ∙ December 31, 2014

The budget news coming out of Harrisburg these days is grim, but the response by some lawmakers and their like-minded allies is ill-informed, at best, and downright misleading at worst. Pennsylvania confronts a $2 billion budget deficit that is a result of Gov. Tom Corbett’s failed policies, principally one-time budget fixes; and his unwillingness to support a statewide shale tax, Medicaid expansion or closing corporate tax loopholes….

Corbett: Women Want Liquor Law Reform So They Can Speed Up Dinner Prep
Source: Dan McQuade, Philadelphia, August 27, 2014

On a Pennsylvania TV show in July, Tom Corbett said women should want liquor law reform because it will allow them to prepare dinner more quickly.

Tom Corbett Makes Sexist Remark While Trying To Appeal To Women
Source: Marina Fang, Huffington Post, August 27, 2014

Apparently, only women make dinner, according to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R). Corbett, speaking on a local TV program last month, claimed women would support his proposal to reform his state’s liquor laws because it would save time while preparing dinner….

PA House GOP Seeks To Rekindle Liquor Privatization Debate
Source: Tony Romeo, CBS, August 27, 2014

In a sign that they aren’t giving up on liquor privatization, state House Republicans plan to push a bill that would decriminalize purchasing wine and liquor in other states and transporting it to Pennsylvania.

EDITORIAL: Pension woes are another reason to privatize Pennsylvania liquor system
Source: Express Times, August 15, 2014

… Of course, that gets to the heart of why Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state government can’t bring itself to reform either the liquor monopoly or the public employee pension systems. The liquor system returns more than $500 million a year to the state treasury. Overall retirement debt, with or without LCB participation, is potentially crushing, requiring serious changes. And those with the power to restructure pensions are members of the retirement system. Yet liquor privatization remains doable. The state could reap a healthy tax return to support LCB enforcement and other operations; the initial sale of licenses would produce a huge one-time source of revenue; and consumers would have market-based choices, competitive pricing and convenience.

Liquor privatization effort kicked? Gov. Corbett’s failure to link privatization to state budget damages chances
Source: Scott Kraus, Morning Call, July 7, 2014 
 
With the passage last week of a state budget, Republicans’ bid to get Pennsylvania out of the booze business is looking tapped out.  Gov. Tom Corbett initially linked the budget to passage of liquor and pension reform, but when liquor reform began looking increasingly unlikely, he shifted focus to demanding action on pensions, eliciting a promise by the House to take up that issue in the fall.

House Version of Pa. Budget to Incorporate Liquor Store Privatization
Source: Tony Romeo, CBS Philly, June 24, 2014

In an apparent effort to light a fire under the feet of their counterparts in the state senate, a committee in the Pennsylvania House has advanced a new state budget partially funded by revenues from the sale of liquor retailing licenses. The House last year passed a bill to privatize the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania, but the senate has continued to balk at that. Now, the House Appropriations Committee, as part of the effort to close a massive budget gap without a broad-based tax hike, has advanced a budget bill that plans on almost $400 million from the sale of liquor licenses….

Pennsylvania Senate negotiations of legislation to expand sales of beer, wine intensify
Source: Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 14, 2014

With a little more than two weeks before state lawmakers might call it quits until September, Senate leaders behind closed doors are negotiating legislation to allow sales of beer and wine in convenience stores and grocery stores while keeping the 600-plus state-run liquor stores in business. Pennsylvania would maintain control of wholesale and retail sales of liquor and wine under Senate plans and remain, with Utah, the only states to do so.

So how many plans to privatize Pennsylvania liquor sales are out there?
Source: Jeff Frantz, pennlive.com, April 28, 2014

You can almost hear it, the liquor privatization partisans chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug!” in hopes Pennsylvania’s legislature will down their preferred plan in the next two weeks. And members of the state Senate seem poised to bring the glass to their lips. But what will the Senate’s plan actually look like once it’s set in legislation? Could something else off this cocktail menu prove more appealing? Or — because this is Pennsylvania — will the next six session days pass with no action, and will everyone leave Harrisburg unhappy and have to buy beer at a distributor and whiskey at a state store (only during restricted Sunday hours)?

So what’s in play? Let’s take a look.
The bill that passed, and stalled: HB 790 ….
The bill that almost passed: HB 790, as amended ….
The bill that’s been circulated: A bigger LCB? …
The proposals waiting to be introduced: The Senate plan …. The outsiders plan ….

Beer, wine and liquor would all be sold in the same store under new proposal to privatize Pa. booze sales
Source: Jeff Frantz, pennlive.com, April 14, 2014

There’s another plan on the table to change the way booze is bought and sold in Pennsylvania, one that would totally undo the state store system. Now we get to see if this proposal — put forward by a coalition of businesses including the Pennsylvania Retail Federation, Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association, Pennsylvania Business Council and a group representing some beer distributors — can gain traction in an increasingly crowded field. In a letter to state Senators last week, the coalition said its proposal is the most friendly to consumers and businesses, since it’s crafted by the very businesses that want to move into the beer, wine and spirits game, that would have to meet customer needs to recoup their investment. …. The proposal would tie a license to sell beer, wine and liquor together. License holders would have the choice to sell whichever of the products they want. Any place that sells beer could sell it by the six-pack or case. Initially, the coalition expects many of these revamped “D” licenses would come from current beer distributors….

House Democrats, union say not so fast on plan for full liquor privatization in Pa.
Source: Jeff Frantz, pennlive.com, April 14, 2014

So is news of yet another proposal to privatize liquor sales in Pennsylvania evidence that momentum for a change exists? Or is all the talk about momentum just an effort to create momentum? House Democrats and the union that represents state store employees — both longtime privatization foes — think it’s the later. They also believe the proposal put forward by a coalition of business groups is a bad deal for taxpayers….

GOP says privatizing LCB could aid budget
Source: Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 5, 2014

House Republican leaders are arguing in ongoing negotiations that privatizing the state liquor system would bolster the 2014-15 budget, but political analysts remain skeptical, given the issue’s troubled legislative history.

Liquor privatization ‘working draft’ planned for Pennsylvania
Source: Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 14, 2014

Closed-door talks on liquor privatization continued on Tuesday among GOP legislative leaders and the lieutenant governor. The next step is expected to be consideration of a “working draft” of legislation, perhaps by week’s end. …

State leaders negotiating on possible new liquor privatization plan
Source: Brad Bumsted, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2014

House and Senate leaders are negotiating a plan with the governor’s office that eventually could phase out state-owned liquor stores and expand private sales of wine, beer and liquor, a key proponent said on Tuesday.

CDC opposes liquor store privatization in PA
Source: Melissa Daniels, PA Independent, August 23, 2013

If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had a say in whether Pennsylvania sells off its state-owned liquor stores, it’d likely vote to keep them around.

Recommendations from the federal agency’s Community Preventative Services Task Force say turning over to the free marketing the sale of wine and liquor leads to excessive drinking. But these conclusions are disputed by other researchers and privatization supporters, who claim the CDC isn’t looking at the right data.

The task force recommendations were included in a mid-August study on how much excessive drinking costs state economies and governments – about $224 billion annually nationwide, and about $8 billion in Pennsylvania, per 2006 figures.

Liquor lobbyists spent over $900,000 towards privatizing alcohol sales in Pa.
Source: Gil Smart, Lancasteronline.com, July 7, 2013

… Last week, Gov. Tom Corbett’s dream of privatizing liquor sales in Pennsylvania went down in flames, as state senators couldn’t agree on a plan to get the commonwealth out of the booze business. It was the fourth time privatization has come up in the Legislature, said G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Public Affairs. But, he noted, when the House voted to privatize state stores in March, it marked the first time either chamber had passed a privatization proposal….According to records from the Pennsylvania Department of State’s Lobbying Disclosure database, $925,898 has been spent on alcoholic beverages lobbying so far in 2013. Corporations, unions, wineries, beer distributors and trade groups sought to make their voices heard above the din of what one newspaper called one of “the largest public flocks of lobbyists” in recent memory….

Pa. privatization bill reworked Senate committee reconstructs liquor sale package that had gained House approval
Source: Karen Langley, Post-Gazette, June 25, 2013

Legislation to allow private sales of wine and liquor advanced through a Senate committee Monday without signs that Republicans are closer to a proposal that could clear the full chamber. …. Instead of disbanding the state’s wholesale purchasing operation, the amended bill would require studies to assess the wholesale value of the system. Where the House bill would use a formula to shutter the state wine and spirits stores, the Senate amendment would allow the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to decide when outlets would close.

What’s next in Pennsylvania’s liquor privatization battle as budget time draws closer?
Source: Sue Gleiter, pennlive.com, June 6, 2013

…McIlhinney has said he will introduce a bill in the next two weeks. He has indicated he wants to maintain the state-run stores but expand sales for existing license holders including beer distributors, bars and restaurants and some grocery stores. However, Gov. Tom Corbett has said he would like to see a liquor proposal cross his desk by the end of the month in time for the June 30 budget deadline. …

Senate liquor privatization hearing heats up as Cawley testifies
Source: Sue Gleiter, pennlive.com, June 4, 2013

…The heated exchange was part of the nearly four hour hearing. The agenda – similar to the committee’s first two meetings – was stacked with mostly those testifying in opposition to scraping the 80-year-old state-run system…. Beer wholesalers took to the floor early in the morning saying they support the idea of modernizing and would like to be able to sell smaller quantities of beer such as six-packs. The version of the bill voted on in March by the House would give beer distributors first shot at 1,200 wine and spirit licenses. It would also allow restaurants and supermarkets to sell wine….Cawley called the issue one of great importance and said the private sector can be trusted as long as it is regulated to provide selection, pricing and convenience. Gov. Tom Corbett has said he would like to see a liquor proposal by the end of the month in time for the June 30 budget deadline. …

Union targets liquor privatization with television and radio ad campaign
Source: Sue Gleiter, pennlive.com, May 6, 2013

The union representing Pennsylvania’s wine and spirit store clerks is uncorking a statewide television and radio campaign aimed at Gov. Tom Corbett. … Corbett has said he would like a liquor privatization bill to pass in time for the June 30 budget deadline. In March, the House passed a bill which gives beer distributors first crack at 1,200 wine and spirit licenses and allows supermarkets to sell wine. The bill is now in the Senate where it is being heavily scrutinized by the Law and Justice Committee…

Corbett’s liquor privatization plan on life support / As key Senate panel holds hearing, its chairman pulls plug on House version.
Source: Steve Esack, Morning Call, April 30, 2013

First came the cops. Then came the drug-and-alcohol counselors. Next up was the moms. And finally, the kids. All of them told a state Senate committee Tuesday they oppose a plan to privatize wine and spirits sales and make beer more readily available under a House-approved bill supported by Gov. Tom Corbett.Law enforcement officers, represented by union officials, said they oppose House Bill 790 because it lacks extra financial support for police facing a potential rise in emergency calls at liquor establishments, on roads and in homes. And the counselors, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and high school students warned that the bill could trigger more alcoholism, violence and death without providing extra money to ward off those social ills…

Hearings set on bill to privatize liquor stores
Source: Angela Couloumbis, Inquirer, April 23, 2013

Let the liquor hearings begin. The first of what will likely be three state Senate hearings on a controversial bill to privatize Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and liquor stores has been scheduled for next Tuesday in the Capitol – and it is bound to be telling. That the bill has few ardent fans in the Senate is no secret. Republicans who control the chamber have strongly signaled they are leaning toward modernizing, rather than privatizing, the State-Store system.

Lobbying money flows in state store debate
Source: Steve Esack and Scott Kraus, Morning Call, March 23, 2013

Lobbyists line up Wednesday to listen outside a small room that leads to the floor of the House of Representatives, where lawmakers debated a liquor store privatization bill that the House passed Thursday.

Pennsylvania House Votes On Liquor Privatization Today
Source: Tony Romeo, CBS Philly, March 21, 2013

The stage is set for a historic vote today in the Pennsylvania House on a bill that would phase out the state store system of selling wine and liquor. But even if the bill passes the House, it would still have to get through the Senate, where support is less certain….

Pa. House Committee OKs overhaul of Corbett liquor bill
Source: Associated Press, March 18, 2013

A key legislative panel has endorsed a radically changed version of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s liquor-privatization bill. The House Liquor Control Committee voted 14-10 Monday to approve an amended version that gives beer distributors the first shot at buying 1,200 liquor and wine sales licenses. After one year, the remaining licenses would be offered to other buyers. The 600 state stores would be gradually reduced as the number of licensees in each county grows. Once the number of state stores falls below 100, they all would close.

LCB officials say state holding them back
Source: Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer, February 26, 2013

Jobs are going unfilled. Morale is low. Even the chairman says he doesn’t believe the state should be in the booze business. Yet the agency that runs Pennsylvania’s liquor stores says that even in the face of Gov. Corbett’s efforts to privatize its retail and wholesale operations, it is more productive than ever. Such was the testimony Monday by top officials at the Liquor Control Board budget hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee. LCB brass said they have been turning more than $100 million a year in profit for the last several years – and kicking more than $80 million of that into the state’s cash-strapped coffers. Yet LCB board member Robert Marcus contended that the agency is operating on a scaled-down staff while the Corbett administration refuses to sign off on filling key vacant positions….

Researchers: Easier access to booze has a downside
Source: Scott Kraus, Morning Call, February 11, 2013

Experts say making booze easier and cheaper to buy – goals of Corbett’s privatization plan – increases problems like alcoholism, DUIs….

The Case for Liquor Privatization in Pennsylvania
Source:Melissa Daniels, Reason, February 10, 2013

Private group to advocate for privatizing Pennsylvania liquor stores
Source: Brad Bumsted, triblive, January 18, 2013

A new coalition of citizens, businesses and groups supporting liquor privatization will announce next week a push for the state store divestiture plan Republican Gov. Tom Corbett soon will announce, a leading advocate said Friday.

Dem plans bill to require privatization approval
Source: Brent Burkey, Central Penn Business Journal, November 20, 2012

A state lawmaker from western Pennsylvania plans to introduce a bill requiring legislative approval for privatizing government programs that would include the Pennsylvania Lottery, according to a news release last week.

State outlines key terms for lottery management privatization
Source: Brent Burkey, Central Penn Business Journal, November 12, 2012

Corbett lists priorities: pensions, transportation, privatizing liquor sales
Source: Karen Langley, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, November 20, 2012

…Mr. Corbett said he also remains committed to privatizing state sales of liquor and wine after previous efforts at dismantling the state system have not succeeded. “We’re not in the business when it comes to beer,” he said. “We shouldn’t be in the business when it comes to wine and alcohol, and I will continue to fight to get us out of the business.” In response to a question, Mr. Corbett said privatizing liquor sales ranks with pension reform and transportation funding in his priorities for the coming term….

Pennsylvania liquor privatization bill will wait until fall, lawmaker says
Source: Associated Press, June 19, 2012

Liquor privatization usually a GOP issue
Source: Robert Swift, Citizens’ Voice, June 17, 2012

Pa. House suspends debate on liquor privatization
Source: Peter Jackson, Associated Press June 12, 2012

New contract may scuttle effort to privatize Pa. liquor sales
Source: Angela Couloumbis, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 5, 2012

Union: Wash. auction shows Pa. liquor privatization unrealistic
Source: Tim Stuhldreher, Central Penn Business Journal, May 01, 2012

Auditor General Jack Wagner Says Liquor Privatization A Bad Deal for Taxpayers and Consumers
Source: Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General, Press release, November 30, 2011

Privatization of liquor sales bad idea, Pa. auditor general says
Source: Philadelphia Business Journal, November 30, 2011

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner was set to give testimony in Harrisburg Wednesday that privatizing liquor sales in the state would increase prices and not generate the amount of revenue for the state that is produced by the current system under the Liquor Control Board.