House Dems hold hearing on plan to sell liquor stores

Democratic state representatives seeking to keep Pennsylvania’s control over liquor sales held a hearing in Philadelphia on Thursday.

More than a dozen House members met at the Pennsylvania Convention Center to hear testimony on the impact of selling off the state’s liquor stores.  Among those testifying was Wendell Young, head of the union representing store employees.  He said there is no reason to sell the stores.

“They run completely off of their own revenue and deliver a half a billion dollars in profit back to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania,” said Young. “That’s better than any private enterprise in the state.”

Nathan Benefield of the Commonwealth Foundation for Public Policy Alternatives said  the assets could be sold and the state still could make most of the money in taxes.

“We do believe that $1 billion to $2 billion  from an upfront licensing is reasonable,” he said.

Democrats oppose the sale. They worry that displaced store employees won’t  be able to find similar jobs. And they don’t like the idea of selling off the assets when the stores are making the state a profit.

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