Pennsylvania voters want to sell liquor stores: poll

By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA (BestGrowthStock) — Most Pennsylvania voters support the ideas of selling state-owned liquor stores and laying off workers to help balance the budget, according to an opinion poll published on Wednesday.

The Quinnipiac University poll found 66 percent of voters in favor of selling the 625 stores, which would raise an estimated $2 billion from private buyers, making it the most popular option for balancing the 2011/12 budget. Only 26 percent oppose the idea.

By a margin of 51 percent to 41 percent, voters also backed reducing the state work force to help erase an estimated $4 billion budget shortfall in the coming year.

Almost twice as many favor cutting services as those who want to raise taxes to balance the budget.

But 52 percent oppose leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike system of toll roads to raise revenue, against 36 percent who back the idea, the poll found.

“Pennsylvanians do not appear to be ideological on the issue of privatizing state assets,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“They support selling the liquor stores while they oppose leasing the Turnpike.”

Similar numbers of Republicans and Democrats argued in favor of selling the liquor stores. But more Republicans than Democrats (59 to 43 percent) support laying off state workers.

A slim majority of voters welcomed a no-new-taxes pledge made by Republican Governor-elect Tom Corbett during his election campaign but most (53 percent) believe he won’t be able to keep his promise after he comes to office in January.

“Pennsylvanians are optimistic that Corbett will be able to make things better yet they are skeptical that he can deal with the state’s budget problems without raising taxes or fees, as he has promised,” Brown said.

The poll questioned 1,584 voters from December 6-13. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

(Editing by Jerry Norton)

Pennsylvania voters want to sell liquor stores: poll