Even Corbett, a steadfast supporter of privatization, has joined that chorus.
That means the state liquor system that dates to the end of Prohibition will likely be around a while longer - no shock to any Pennsylvanian who drinks, pays taxes, or votes - especially if the agency can make enough changes to answer, one by one, the arguments for privatizing.
"I think the philosophical zealots will still be very aggressive in trying to push privatization, but I do think modernization has taken center stage now," said Wendell W. Young IV, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776, which represents 3,000 employees in the State Stores. "The more practical majority in the legislature is looking at how to make what we have work most effectively for consumers."
Or perhaps, that "more practical majority" knows it's an election year, when legislators generally shrink from the kind of bold action that might rouse opposition from powerful political forces such as Young's union.
Corbett, for his part, campaigned in 2010 on a staunch pro-privatization platform, arguing that the state had no business being in the liquor business.
In the early months after he took office in January 2011, he rarely gave a speech that didn't argue the case. Whether speaking to a roomful of Republicans at the state party's winter meeting, or addressing Pennsylvanians in his first budget speech, the governor always paused to reiterate his belief that the private sector should take over the sale of wine and hard liquor in Pennsylvania.
Then a top House Republican presented a bill to do just that: House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) last summer proposed auctioning off the retail and wholesale operations of the LCB.
But as 2011 unfolded, the legislation faded further and further into the background as other matters took precedence: the state's strained finances. A push for school vouchers. A natural gas extraction fee.
By the end of the year, Turzai's original bill had become unrecognizable. It was voted out of committee - the first time an LCB privatization measure had gotten that far in the process. But by then it had been gutted.
For his part, Turzai says the issue is very much alive and on track to be debated on the House floor before summer.
"Regardless of efforts and requests to modernize, the [LCB] has a failed business plan," said Steve Miskin, Turzai's spokesman. "We expect forward movement this spring."
Yet all signs seem to point toward a subtle retreat. On Thursday, Joe Conti, the LCB's chief executive officer, made the pitch at a budget hearing to allow the agency to improve itself through "modernization policies" such as greater flexibility in pricing, longer store hours, and changes to hiring and inventory practices.
The former legislator's pitch was well-received. Top Republican senators said that they liked what they were hearing and that they had no problem considering modernization plans even as talk of privatization continued on a parallel track.
Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said the governor shared that sentiment - signaling a shift from his privatization drumbeat.
By week's end, Conti was calling Corbett's comments "very significant."
"The governor has sent the message that he will consider modernization proposals," Conti said.
What few talk about - not Conti, not Corbett - is whether "modernization" could ultimately render moot every argument for privatizing.
Turzai's office, for one, doesn't believe so.
"They have an inherent conflict of interest," Miskin said, referring to the agency's mission to both control and encourage the sale of booze. "And the public wants this."
Poll after poll has shown public support for scrapping the state system.
But politically speaking, it has never been an easy sell. Three previous governors have tried and failed, all defeated by a confluence of unlikely allies: upstate moralists who believe liquor should be closely regulated, unions that want to protect LCB employees' jobs, and legislators averse to taking the financial risk of dismantling an agency that reliably kicks profits into state coffers.
Privatization fans counter that the LCB, regardless of how many changes it makes, will never be able to match the private sector.
"The fact of the matter is, the only way to modernize," Miskin argued, "is to privatize."
Contact staff writer Angela Couloumbis at 717-787-5934, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @AngelasInk on Twitter.