Washington last week announced the results of an online auction for the licenses of its 167 liquor stores. Voters last year passed a referendum privatizing the system.
The auction earned $30.75 million, or $184,000 per license. Yet, privatization advocates have claimed Pennsylvania could raise nine times more per store, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776 said in a statement.
Republican State Rep. Mike Turzai is the lead sponsor of a privatization bill that would auction 1,250 licenses, doubling Pennsylvania's 621 existing liquor stores.
"I personally believe that private industry will jump at the chance to sell wine and spirits in a big way, and, when you include the selling of the current inventory, we can reach as much as $2 billion," Turzai said in July in testimony to the House Liquor Control Committee, according to a transcript on the House GOP website.
A figure of $2 billion works out to $1.6 million per license.
"Licenses just do not sell for that amount anywhere in the country," Local 1776 President Wendell Young said.
The Washington numbers suggest Pennsylvania would earn just $230 million from selling 1,250 licenses, the UFCW said.
A call to Turzai's office seeking comment on the UFCW statement was not immediately returned this morning.
The UFCW backs a bill that would modernize the state store system rather than privatizing it.