Privatized liquor sales good for licensees, taxpayers
Friday, April 5, 2019
I’m writing in response to the April 1 article in The Daily Advance headlined “City votes to oppose privatized liquor sales.” There is a voice that has not been heard in this matter: that of the Alcoholic Beverage Control licensee, the restaurateur.
I strongly disagree with council’s decision and here is why.
First there’s the motive of revenues to state and local governments. Privatized liquor sales will still produce tax revenues from the retail sale of alcohol by ABC licensees.
In August of last year, an audit reported that a lack of oversight by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission led to between $12 million and $14 million in wasted government funds.
As an ABC licensee, I pay a per bottle licensee surcharge. Though not called a tax, it pretty much amounts to the same thing. It’s a cost on top of the sales tax also generated by that bottle.
Trying to operate a quality restaurant is difficult when the availability of premium brands is allocated. This causes certain brands to be unavailable for months at a time, which is just unacceptable.
In states I have worked where liquor sales are privatized, competition creates a need for service and competitive pricing along with pricing incentives. You place your order and your products are delivered as opposed to having to pick them up yourself.
The local ABC store staff are wonderful and sensitive to the availability issues but that does not solve the dilemma.
My experience has been that government involvement in commerce has never worked.