Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Private liquor stores in N.C.?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 3, 2010 at 1:02 PM

The fact that we have state-run liquor stores is, I think, ridiculous. I can go buy a gun at the dicey pawn shop down the street but if I want a bottle of rum I have to go to a state-run store? Bullshit. There are plenty of other states that allow private liquor sales ... and you don't hear about crazy, liquor-fueled goings on from them — do you?

Here's what I want: I want to be able to pick up the liquor of my choice at the grocery store of my choice. Doesn't that make more sense than having to make a special trip to a special store during rigid hours?

Next, I want to be able to buy wine, beer and liquor anytime I want — just like I can buy lottery tickets, cigarettes, bullets and trans-fat laden foods at the closest 24-hour super store.

The way I see it, the state has no right to legislate or regulate morality. (Especially given the constant news about how moral our legislators are ... har, har, har.)

More, the state can make much more money by privatizing liquor sales. Much more. Hundreds of millions of dollars more. Given the Great Recession, privatization seems like a no-brainer.

Like anybody contemplating selling off valuables, Gov. Bev Perdue wants to know how much the state's liquor system is worth.

Perdue and Jon Williams, the state's top liquor regulator, have asked a Chicago firm to determine the value of the state's Alcoholic Beverage Control warehouse in Raleigh and the 410 locally run liquor stores across the state. Valuation Research Corporation has eight weeks to deliver the report, for which the state will pay $175,000.

The company will study all aspects of liquor sales in North Carolina, including the real estate value of stores, revenues from the retail outlets and the state's distribution warehouse.

The firm's work will help inform the governor's Budget Reform Advisory Commission, which has been exploring ABC system changes that include privatization. The analysis will also likely be used by legislators when they convene in May. A special committee appointed by legislative leaders last month is also studying ways to reform the liquor system.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by Mark Johnson, here.

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