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House Version of Pa. Budget to Incorporate Liquor Store Privatization

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- In an apparent effort to light a fire under the feet of their counterparts in the state senate, a committee in the Pennsylvania House has advanced a new state budget partially funded by revenues from the sale of liquor retailing licenses.

The House last year passed a bill to privatize the sale of liquor in Pennsylvania, but the senate has continued to balk at that.

Now, the House Appropriations Committee, as part of the effort to close a massive budget gap without a broad-based tax hike, has advanced a budget bill that plans on almost $400 million from the sale of liquor licenses.

State rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware County), chairman of the appropriations panel, claims that the gambit is serious.

"The senate can always amend this bill if they have revenue sources other than this," he said.  "And I'm sure I'm going to be negotiating with that."

The state senate continues to discuss a liquor bill but is focusing on ways to make beer and wine sales more convenient, not on getting rid of state stores.

House Democrats, meanwhile, protested that the budget approved by the Appropriations Committee is out of balance and filled with gimmicks.

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