Health - April 25, 2014

Liquor privatization gains traction in the Senate

The State Senate is expected to take up discussion on liquor privatization some time next week amid much optimism from top legislators.  The bill being considered would privatize beer and wine sales for grocery stores, gas stations and beer distributors. Senate leaders such as Sen. Chuck McIlhinney Jr., (R-Bucks) and President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) have voiced optimism and anticipation for discussion this coming week.

What is most likely to come out of the Senate will be much less potent than the proposal put forward by the House last year that would have phased out the state liquor stores.  However there is a sense that House leaders are ready to move forward with the Senate’s decision.  House Majority Whip Stan Saylor (R- Red Lion) told media, “Before we get too far through May, I think we'll pass something through to the governor's desk for liquor.”  However there is still much to be discussed before the bill can move forward as malt beverage associations and distributors have voiced opposition to excluding liquor from the bill. 


Pennsylvania among the states least prepared for a recession according to S&P

As the economic climate continues to improve, Standard & Poor reports that Pennsylvania is among the least equipped states to handle another economic downturn.  The credit rating agency reported that the commonwealth has the largest projected state reserve decline (83.8%), and a budget that is “out of whack.”  “The budget is not structurally balanced and relies on one-time savings, deferrals and other measures that add uncertainty,” S&P says. 

While Kentucky and New Mexico join Pennsylvania as the three worst equipped, other states have used the recent economic recovery to their advantage.  Michigan, Wisconsin and Rhode Island are among the states who head into 2014 with the most restored balance sheets.  Pennsylvania is clearly in the minority as S&P found that most states are in good shape heading into 2014.  “A majority (of states) find that they are in a better budgetary position than at any other point since the start of the recession,” S&P says.