Given the polarized political times we're in, the statehouse can be a tough place to separate ideology from ideas these days.
But now lawmakers have an opportunity to come together and act on a sound idea that would help close the state's budget deficit without raising a single tax or fee on anyone.
The idea is simple: It's time to further modernize the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Legislation in the state Senate would allow the PLCB to generate at least $70 million a year in new revenue for the state's general fund - $70 million every year.
The legislation - Senate Bill 1287 - would allow the PLCB to operate more like a retail and wholesale business than a state agency.
It's a good idea that would allow the PLCB to add significantly to the $530 million it generated in taxes, fees and profit for the state last year.
The bill provides more freedom for the agency to purchase goods and services - such as signing a lease for a new wine and spirits shop.
It provides more flexibility in hiring the right people to do the right job when and where they're needed to provide top-shelf customer service.
Finally, the legislation would provide greater flexibility in pricing.
Presently, the agency cannot mark down the price of a particular bottle of spirits or wine that is not moving.
Current law requires the PLCB to apply the same percentage markup on a popular and relatively inexpensive bottle of vodka as on a rare, luxury wine that could warrant a higher markup.
These three common sense proposals would impact most Pennsylvanians in a good way when the new revenue is invested in important state programs.
The $70 million could be used to reduce the $100 million that Gov. Corbett has proposed cutting from the state's public schools as part of his 2012-13 budget.
Or, it could be used to help reduce the proposed $200 million reduction in funding to higher education for the next fiscal year.
These ideas are long overdue and have earned support from Democratic and Republican lawmakers and Gov. Corbett.
So what's the holdup?
It appears that the ideology of lawmakers is getting in the way.
Some members of the General Assembly would rather privatize the PLCB than modernize this asset.
Their "privatize it if you can at any cost" ideology trumps common sense.
They should follow Gov. Corbett's lead on this.
The governor has made it clear that he believes the state should not be in the
business of selling wine and spirits.
On this, he and I disagree.
We have entirely different ideologies on privatization.
I represent 3,500 men and women who work in Pennsylvania's Wine and Spirits shops and oppose efforts that would put most of these Pennsylvanians on the unemployment line.
I believe that the PLCB is an asset that generates a significant return for every taxpayer and helps keep communities safe by responsibly managing the sale of wine and spirits.
But I agree with Gov. Corbett that modernization is a good idea and worthy of support.