Burns fights against corporate handouts, stands up for mom-and-pop businesses

HARRISBURG, June 11 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, issued the following statement on House passage of H.B. 1524, which would allow a tourist development project to acquire a liquor license for a flat $65,000 fee from the state Liquor Control Board, compared to current law where prospective business owners must purchase a liquor license from an existing licensee or be the highest bidder at a PLCB license auction: 


“Growing up in a family-run business, I know firsthand the struggles they face. It’s unfathomable that we would pass legislation that provides special advantages to big developers at the expense of mom-and-pop businesses in Pennsylvania. The sheer fact that this legislation is catering to one particular developer should outrage the public.


“For the past 80 years, liquor licenses have been sold between two private businesses. This bill changes that by allowing the state to sell licenses directly to the developer for a flat fee, who can then turn around and sell them for a profit. We should be forcing these developers to look in the private sector for licenses and let the free market determine the price. 


“We’re rushing this bill through the legislature instead of taking time to do the right thing. There is a better way to accomplish the goals of this legislation and that is by overhauling antiquated liquor laws to allow restaurant licensees to sell across county lines. 


“Rather than grant special treatment for big businesses, the state should embrace a level-playing field and no-favors approach to economic development. Government should work for everyone not just the people with money.”