Harrisburg Happenings: Ryan Bizzarro
Representative Ryan Bizzarro on the liquor privatization bill.
Driving to Harrisburg the week of March 18, my thoughts were focused on House Bill 790, which contains potentially disastrous effects for businesses and workers across the Commonwealth.
The House Floor was filled with debate for hours on March 21st—yet the rushed attempt to privatize our state liquor system was approved. It was a distressing night in our Capitol.
I voted against House Bill 790, considering its many flaws that offer harm to the hardworking citizens in Erie County and all of Pennsylvania.
But there is still some hope. Despite passing 105 to 90 in the House, the bill—which would cost us $600 million in state revenue over the first five years, phase out 619 state stores, and ultimately create chaos across the Commonwealth, now lies in the hands of the Senate.
Upon taking my oath, I set out to do what's right for our district and our state. My "no" vote was cast because I feel the bill is ethically and fiscally irresponsible, forcing hundreds of small businesses to permanently close and putting thousands of middle-class Pennsylvanians out of work, while retail giants gain huge profits.
When the House bill passed, Governor Tom Corbett called it a "truly historic day." Unfortunately, this is a historically dark day for Pennsylvania. Roughly 4,000 state jobs would be lost. But even more jobs at neighborhood beer distributors, who directly employ nearly 5,000 workers and support a total of more than 14,000 jobs, would be gone as well.
The bill also permits unlimited wholesale and retail markups of alcohol, exposing consumers to likely higher prices. We need to help our economy, not hurt it.
I support improving and modernizing Pennsylvania's alcohol laws with responsible plans that make Pennsylvania taxpayers and consumers the priority, but House Bill 790 is not the answer.
Despite this upsetting outcome, many encouraging things have been happening both in Harrisburg and back home in our district.
In the Capitol, the House Democrats developed and outlined a policy agenda aimed at generating growth and development across Pennsylvania. I was honored to be a part of the discussion, keeping the priorities of Erie County moving forward.
Transportation and Infrastructure go hand in hand with this. Modernizing and maintaining our infrastructure to protect our citizens while improving our environment for economic growth is essential to the future of our state.
Back in our district, we're proud to announce that we helped citizens in Erie County collect more than $125,000 in unclaimed property. Our "Treasury Hunt" last month, offered residents the chance stop by and see if any of the $1.5 billion the PA Treasury is holding belongs to them.
We also opened our satellite office in McKean Township to better serve residents. We'll be in our new location at 9231 Edinboro Road, conveniently located for residents who live in the southern portion of the district, every Thursday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Remember that we're here for you! Your input is important and welcomed—please don't hesitate to reach out. Our District Office is located in the Peninsula Plaza at 1101 Peninsula Drive, Suite 209 in Millcreek and you can call us at 835-2880.