Both sides deploy numbers in tussle over Pa. liquor sales

    The debate over whether Pennsylvania should sell off its liquor stores has lately been a war of numbers.

    One state lawmaker says that, in spite of how carefully all sides are picking their data, it’s clear the privatization proposal needs some work.

    Groups for and against privatization are showing different math.

    No one seems to be in clear agreement about how much wine and liquor prices would change if they were sold in private stores.

    But Rep. Mark Mustio, a Republican on the House Liquor Control Committee, says the proposed per-gallon tax, which would be based on volume and alcohol content, is a problem.

    “There’s no doubt in the legislation that’s proposed that gallonage is going to have a negative impact on some current products that are purchased in Pennsylvania, particularly those that are high-volume,” Mustio said. “So there’s going to need to be an amendment to the legislation to fix that.”

    Mustio said he’s talked to the staff of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, the steward of the privatization bill, about working on an amendment to change the gallonage tax proposal.

    At the latest hearing on privatization, even the two most prominent groups opposed to selling off the state liquor stores presented different price comparisons to argue their case.

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