The Senate’s latest liquor proposal is out, but from the consumer perspective, leaves much to be desired. The plan does not get government out of the booze business.
Although the proposal makes some positive reforms, the state will retain its monopoly over wine and spirits wholesale, with a study and option to take action on that in two years. Government control over wholesale means government control over selection, distribution and pricing, which is a loss for entrepreneurs, taxpayers and consumers. My colleague Elizabeth Stelle goes into more detail as to why wholesale privatization matters to you.
As for retail privatization, the proposal calls for state stores to close once they are outnumbered 2-1 by beer distributors who choose to sell both wine and spirits (beer distributors would be the only private business that can sell wine and liquor). The House plan was better in this regard. It would should down state stores when they are outnumbered in their county 2 to 1 by all private retailers, including grocery stores and “R- licenses” selling wine.
But nothing is set in stone. There is still the opportunity for the Senate to improve its plan to fit with the principles of privatization.