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Pa. Lawmaker Proposes Auction For Privatized Liquor Store Licenses

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(Pa. Rep. Mike Turzai.  Photos by Tony Romeo)

(Pa. Rep. Mike Turzai. Photos by Tony Romeo)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - A key Pennsylvania lawmaker today unveiled his long-awaited proposal to sell off the state’s liquor store system.

House majority leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) proposes auctioning off a total of 1,250 licenses for retail stores -– essentially doubling the number of outlets –- with two categories of licenses, based on store size.

Turzai’s plan would abolish the current 18-percent flat tax on booze and replace it with a so-called “gallonage” tax that would be based on the type of liquor and alcoholic content.

Turzai says his number one concern is the consumer.

“To make it more convenient, to make the price more reasonable, but to do it in a responsible manner,” he told KYW Newsradio today.

young wendell side romeo Pa. Lawmaker Proposes Auction For Privatized Liquor Store Licenses

(Wendell Young.)

But Wendell Young (right), head of the union representing state store workers, thinks the plan will have the opposite effect.

“It’ll cause less selection in more locations,” he said.

Young also believes prices will increase.

Liquor privatization now takes its place with other big-ticket items, such as school vouchers, awaiting state lawmakers when they return in the fall.

Reported by KYW Harrisburg bureau chief Tony Romeo

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