Monday, March 01, 2010

Perdue: Private liquor stores would operate as concessions

Gov. Bev Perdue has told legislative leaders that if they decide to privatize the state's ABC system -- either ABC stores, the wholesale and distribution, or both -- then the developing stores or wholesalers would be concessionaires for a fixed period of time. They may also be allowed to renew their terms.

In a letter to legislative leaders, Perdue said she was concerned about a number of ABC issues, including ethical performance and business operations. "It has become very clear to me that ethical standards, operations, control and oversight of local ABC boards and stores must be strengthened. I have set and enforced the highest standards for openness and transparency of any administration in our state’s history. I expect that those high standards will be upheld down to the local level if state government has any responsibility or oversight for actions and standards at the local level," she said.

Perdue also said she wants a close look at the financial side of ABC system changes. "In order to fully grasp the implications and opportunities associated with privatization, we must have a very clear understanding of the revenue the state may derive, and possibly forego, as a result of selling a concession to private interests. She has ordered up an analysis by a valuation firm to help determine the best course. But if the state does privatize any or all of the system, she said, there are three elements she wants in any such plan:¬

"1) If local ABC Boards remain in the business of selling liquor, ABC Boards and their employees will have more stringent ethical standards, they will be more accountable to and under more direct control by the state.
"2) North Carolina will remain a “control” state. If we opt to privatize any part of the ABC system, it will only do so through the sale of a concession for a limited period of time, which may be renewable.
"3) Any fees paid to the state from the sale of any part of the ABC system must be used to fund critical, long-term investments in our people and our state – not to fill current or near-term budget shortfalls."

It's not knowable, of course, if the state of North Carolina will make this big change in the way alcohol is sold. It's worth noting that if the change does occur on Perdue's watch, it will be at least the second significant cultural change in the state due to her influence. The first was creation of the state lottery, which went forward after she cast a tie-breaking vote as lieutenant governor and presiding officer of the Senate to create what is now the N.C. Education Lottery.


Kate Burton said...

I continue to be amazed that we have no problem privatizing substance abuse services, thus allowing the "free market" to deal with problems that come from alcohol, but yet the politicians oppose allowing the "free market" to sell alcohol.

Anonymous said...

In such a trying economic time, why would a cash strapped state give away revenue? I believe that the ABC system needs to be reformed to address the ethical issues, but I would not give away a continuous revenue stream.

Anonymous said...

Privatize liquir stores. Parks Helms and his corrupt cronies are enough evidence to allow the market place to serve it's customer's not the corrupt state.

Ghoul said...

In such a trying economic time, why would a cash strapped state give away revenue? I believe that the ABC system needs to be reformed to address the ethical issues, but I would not give away a continuous revenue stream.

Give away revenue? Liquor is taxed by volume, not cost. By privatizing, the consumers gets competition in the system, which brings down costs to them. Also, competition will bring in new brands and types of liquor that are not found in the current ABC system, probably because the distributors didn't grease the right palm. With lower prices, more variety, and no longer having to pay rent, salaries, and benefits from the taxes derived from liquor sales, tax revenue will increase.

Just think of the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars now spent on ABC board members and CEOs. Doesn't one county have a father and son making $300,000+, anonymous how do you justify that?

Mayo Hardware said...

If you never been in a state with a free market alcohol system, you'll never understand the benefits. Like being able to buy liquor after 9:00pm. Times have changed and NC is still living under Blue Laws of the 30's and 40's.

Why not mimic another state's successful model?

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