Proposal would require all liquor-by-the-drink taxes to be fully paid before licenses are renewed or transferred

HARRISBURG, June 25, 2014 – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today introduced a bill requiring City of Philadelphia liquor license holders to pay, in full, the city’s liquor-by-the-drink tax, including all interest and penalties, before the license would be approved for transfer or renewal.

Between 1995 and 2012, more than $34 million in liquor-by-the-drink taxes, penalties and interest was never collected or distributed to the School District of Philadelphia.

“The children and professionals working in the School District of Philadelphia need us to secure every dollar of funding that we can for them,” said Sen. Farnese. “And it is foolish for us to leave tens of millions of dollars on the table, which is what we are doing by not collecting the city’s liquor-by-the-drink tax.

“My new legislation will help the struggling School District of Philadelphia, which is facing a multi-million dollar deficit, receive the funds it is due from uncollected liquor-by-the-drink taxes in Philadelphia.”
The liquor by the drink tax is one of several ways that the district is funded by the City of Philadelphia. Currently, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) only verifies that the licensee has paid his or her taxes with the Departments of Revenue and Labor and Industry.

If enacted, the bill will require the LCB to also verify that a licensee has fully paid its liquor-by-the-drink tax with the City of Philadelphia before a license is approved for transfer or renewal. Sen. Farnese’s legislation does not authorize any new taxes or raise the liquor by the drink tax.

Sen. Larry Farnese was elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s First Senatorial District which contains some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and South Philadelphia, Center City, the Navy Yard, Philadelphia International Airport. Senator Farnese serves as the Democratic Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. His District Office is located at 1802 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA (ph: 215-952-3121) and his Harrisburg Office is located at 543 Main Capitol in Harrisburg, PA (ph: 717-787-5662). More information about the Senator and his initiatives is available at

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