Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wahington state ponders privatizing liquor sales

Washington state is hardly the exception. Several states are considering the same.

In Washington state you can't get hard liquor without going to a state run store. It's been that way since 1933 when prohibition ended. But this year lawmakers are grappling with a $2.6 billion budget nightmare. And that has state lawmakers wondering whether selling booze is worth the cost. But as correspondent Chantal Anderson reports state liquor regulators are pushing back.

This privatization makes no sense to my mind for 4 reasons.

First, if a private company or companies can make money. The state should be able to rake in the profits and do it better.

Second, privatization has to raise the price of alcohol unless the state is to take in less than it does now.

Third, and this is my main objection and why I believe this is a bad idea. Kids will have much easier access to the hard stuff.

Knowing the Washington state system which limited access to liquor, I was surprised when visiting California where any retail outlet could sell alcohol. Advertising and access were everywhere including the mini-marts, bodegas and grocery stores where children were allowed. A kid can't enter a Washington state liquor store (usually).

The fourth reason is simple. What good is limiting cigarette advertising so children aren't tempted when the same outlet is selling Jack Daniels in the corner store? What am I missing?

How about this? Limit advertising and access and locate state-run liquor stores in a corner of existing supermarkets which are always conveniently located. Or come up with a better marketing plan. I'm easy open to suggestions.

Note: Headline links to source.

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