Thursday, July 2, 2015

Maryland Liquor Merchants Applaud Wolf Veto

HAVRE DE GRACE, Md.- Gov. Tom Wolf (D-Pa.) vetoed a bill to privatize his state's liquor stores Wednesday, drawing support from an unlikely corner: wine and liquor store owners and employees across the northern tier of Maryland.

"Pennsylvania's sensible alcohol policy has been vital to our success," said Russell Bell, owner of Bell's Booze Bazaar in Havre de Grace.  "I applaud him for standing up to the Republicans' reckless attempt to change it."

Many supporters of the veto cited the liquor industry's ability to thrive even in remote areas of Maryland.  "There are three liquor stores and a vineyard just on this stretch of [Interstate 83]", explained Preston Broadus, a clerk in a wine and liquor store in northern Baltimore County.  "Even though there aren't many people around here, they're all hiring."

Still, the fact that privatization passed both houses of the General Assembly unnerved some Maryland merchants.  "We need to do a better job of making our case to the public," said Tom Carcetti, owner of Tom's Winoplasty in Hagerstown.  "I don't think Maryland voters understand just how important Pennsylvania's liquor policy is to our state's economy."

At press time, we were unable to contact Jimmy McNulty, chairman of the Maryland Liquor and Alcohol Retailing Industry Association (MaLARIA).  A spokesman said Mr. McNulty was in Pennsylvania buying Fourth of July fireworks.

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