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Oil for liquor? Pa. business deals in play

Would Gov. Wolf drop State Stores to win a drilling tax?

Will Pennsylvania Democratic Gov.-elect Tom Wolf and the Republicans who run the General Assembly in Harrisburg trade oil for liquor? That's one of the stories the lawyers, business fundraisers and others who seek to profit from political change are trading in the run-up to the yearly Pennsylvania Society conclave in New York this weekend.

The suggestion: Wolf will sign some kind of State Store liquor privatization bill, which Republicans have long wanted and labor-union Democrats resisted ferociously, in exchange for legislators agreeing to back a tax on gas and oil wells, which were uniquely tax free under Govs. Corbett and Rendell. Extraction revenue looks popular and could ease the state's strained budget. Too bad that plunging fuel prices on top of a tax could drive drillers away.