Pa. Senate supports home wine-shipping bill

Posted: March 29, 2012

HARRISBURG - A bill that would allow Pennsylvania wine lovers to have out-of-state purchases shipped directly to their homes won unanimous support from the state Senate on Wednesday.

But don't dial up your favorite Napa Valley vineyard for door-to-door delivery of its latest Pinot Noir just yet.

The bill, which cleared the Senate, 48-0, is about to run up against a veritable legislative blockade in the House.

There, Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny), a chief proponent of privatizing liquor sales in the state, says that while he supports direct deliveries, he wants it to be part of his privatization bill.

That's the measure that, after a lot of talk last year, hasn't gone anywhere. A version dubbed "privatization lite" - not the one Turzai wants - made it out of a House committee in December and hasn't advanced since then.

Steve Miskin, Turzai's spokesman, said the majority leader does not support "piecemeal modernization."

"When a ship's sinking, you don't patch it when it needs an overhaul," Miskin said Wednesday. "Direct shipments would be part of privatization."

Likely translation: Consumers will have to wait until a Turzai-supported privatization bill gets through the General Assembly and is signed by Gov. Corbett - another proponent of privatizing - before they get home delivery of wine and spirits.

In addition, Corbett and some lawmakers are concerned about the tax implications of home delivery.

Under the bill, wineries would be required to collect and remit the state's 6 percent sales tax, as well as the 18 percent so-called Johnstown flood tax that the Liquor Control Board charges at its stores.

The Corbett administration said direct shipping would cost Pennsylvania that revenue.

Currently, customers who order out-of-state purchases can have them shipped to a nearby LCB store. The state generally prohibits out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to homes, but it does allow smaller in-state wineries to do so.

The bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday attempts to level the playing field by allowing out-of-state wineries to register with the LCB for a license to enable them to ship to consumers.


Contact Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or aworden@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @inkyamy.

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