- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - The agency that controls liquor and wine sales in Pennsylvania has transferred a record $526 million to the state government’s main bank account, it said Wednesday.

In a new report, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board said the total for the year ending June 30 is $13 million, or about 2.5 percent, higher than the previous year’s transfer.

Most of that revenue comes from state liquor and sales taxes, but it also includes profits of $80 million that was transferred early at Gov. Tom Corbett’s request while this year’s state budget plan was being assembled.

The board’s net income totaled $124 million, up from $119.5 million in 2012-13. Retail wine sales, driven by the Chairman’s Selection program, showed the strongest growth.

On the expense side, pension contributions for employees increased by $7 million or 43 percent, service fees for credit and debit cards increased by $1.4 million or nearly 7 percent, and store rent grew by $1.7 million, or 4 percent. Those expenses were partially offset by the continued deferral of computer upgrades, which saved $4 million, and lower advertising costs.

Corbett is an advocate of privatizing the sale of alcoholic beverages. Last year, he backed a bill to phase out the state stores and sell hundreds of new wine and liquor licenses. But the bill foundered in the Senate and no compromise has attracted majority support in both chambers.

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