The ABCs Of State Liquor Control

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

We have previously discussed the socialistic nature of state liquor boards even in conservative states. Radley Balko takes exception to the “salvo” at conservatives and links to two states, Virginia and Pennsylvania, wherein he claims Republicans are trying to privatize their state’s liquor business, while Democrats oppose their efforts.

Alcohol distribution uses a three-tier system: producers, distributors, and retailers. Eighteen states exert varying degrees of control over the three tiers, and, in some states, the control depends on the alcohol content of the beverage.

The political nature of each state’s liquor control is:

  • Alabama: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Idaho: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Iowa: Senate controlled by Democrats, House controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Maine: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Maryland: Both legislative houses controlled by Democrats, Governor – Democrat.
  • Michigan: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Mississippi: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Montana: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Democrat.
  • New Hampshire: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Democrat.
  • North Carolina: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Democrat.
  • Ohio: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Oregon: Senate controlled by Democrats, House equally divided, Governor – Democrat.
  • Pennsylvania: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Utah: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • Vermont: Both legislative houses controlled by Democrats, Governor – Democrat.
  • Virginia: Senate equally divided, House controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.
  • West Virginia: Both legislative houses controlled by Democrats, Governor – Democrat.
  • Wyoming: Both legislative houses controlled by Republicans, Governor – Republican.

In half of the states that exercise government control over alcohol sales, Republicans control both the legislature and governorship.

Of the two states Balko cites, Virginia Governor McDonnell got resistance for his original proposal from “Democrats and some Republicans” who lamented the inevitable loss of much needed state revenue. The original proposal would have brought in $47 million less each year than the current system.

In the Pennsylvania citation, the proposal is far from a paragon of free enterprise. Under Governor Corbett’s plan, Pennsylvania would go from a state-controller of liquor stores to a state-licenser of liquor stores. In Pennsylvania, Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governorship. In such a situation, not assigning responsibility to Republicans for the lack of even this minimum level of privatization, is unconscionable.

In non-conservative Democratic Washington state, a voter approved Initiative-1183 recently privatized their state liquor store system, replacing it with a licensing system. The promise of lower prices through competition has yet to be realized as liquor prices have risen.

H/T: Ballotpedia, The Seattle Times.

19 thoughts on “The ABCs Of State Liquor Control

  1. Believing that no political unit in the USA is interested in the Swedish system of state controlled alcohol retail, I will abstain.

    Those that believe that private free profit firms, large or small, will produce social welfare and public guidance, may join Obama in his delusions of self-restraint being effective in corporations.

    Lastly, apparently NC has left the ranks of state control, and has sold its “brand” ABC for private use.

  2. “Those that believe that private free profit firms, large or small, will produce social welfare and public guidance, may join Obama in his delusions of self-restraint being effective in corporations.”

    idealist 707

    Jamie Dimon believes Obama. … Jamie Dimon is rich influential and VERY successful. I watched him testify to congress on C-Span. Our Senate and House treated him like the Dalai Lama, How can Dimon possibly be wrong? How can all the fawning over him by congress possibly be wrong.
    The rich powerful Titans of industry and finance do care about us. I know, I saw our elected representatives agree with Dimon.
    Now if you will excuse me, I have to go put my head back up my….errr ehh..
    back into that hole in the ground the Republicans and Democrats dug for me. And may I say their cooperation in digging this particular hole, is a wondrous example of a united bipartisan political effort.

  3. David,

    In Michigan the actual product and distribution is privatized…… The board is mostly..political payback or graft if you will…..

  4. I am a capitalist. I believe that if I make my moonshine then I can sell it to a ready, willing, and able buyer, so long as the buyer is not a Baptist, under 21, or a RepubliCon in sheeps clothing.

  5. I am for the moment hijacking the thread to make a major point made on an old thread.
    Lotta, Woosty and I (with most posts) are solving how society has developed from each individual in his personal misgrowth grows into a self-organized orgy of repression and exploitation.

    Read on or skip it. Choice is yours. And bandwidth is cheap so don’t owe JT much except the useful readership.
    ————————-

    Idealist707
    1, June 23, 2012 at 9:43 am
    Lotta,

    Spinoff on your idea:

    Does it all begin with bullying, as opposed to buddying?

    And bullies as they grow, learn how other bullies operate to advantage. And they learn how to find bullies, find bully groups, and then finally they learn who and what in society uses bullying as M.O.
    The police, the lawyers (!!!), the justice system,
    religions, politicians, etc.
    Now some choose these as professions.

    BUT, and this is a big one, the others who DO NOT choose bully professions, know how to speak bully-speak, identify themselves to bullies in the profession they are in contact with, and can use what are clear bully tactics because of that fellowship, and their knowledge of what must be there in this profession for it to function as a bully one.

    Now the psychodynamics of bullies I will leave to others to define. When and how they develop, and the sociological etc.

    But I will stand for it as clarification model of how much that is wrong is routinely developed and performned within our societies organization. And a good reason for the persistence in spite of facial cleanups.
    ——————————

    14 Woosty’s still a Cat
    1, June 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Id707, interesting insight.

    there will always be innate power imbalances in society and the risk of ‘over reaching’….

    Big vs Little is an innate bullying dynamic.

    But when Big exists in their present size by making sure that Little has to conform to certain basic behaviors that they do not…and especially if they ‘make up the rules’ unilaterally,.the word is not ‘Bully’

    When Big refuses to enforce those rules upon himself but insists that Little continue to be placed at risk by those same rule to Bigs advantage….the field is doubly imbalanced…I beieve the word then is not Bully, the word is ….derp derp….wait for it….derp….derp …..derp….

    rape

    and what could be an effective solution….a correction as it were without further enrichment of that dynamic and damage to the one already being damaged???
    ———————-

    16 idealist707
    1, June 23, 2012 at 11:06 am
    Woosty,

    First; I did not understand this:

    “and what could be an effective solution….a correction as it were without further enrichment of that dynamic and damage to the one already being damaged???” Woosty…

    Secondly, I see the bully’s life strategy is always to end on top, whatever ethics dictate and whatever the method he needs. He is not willing to share life space, but sees only to his needs, and has no set limit to them. They are quite flexible upwards and outwards.

    I believe, without support, that this develops out of the baby psyche as a need for survival. Nesting chicks are a good example, the largest and reddest gap gets the worm. No empathy there.

    And our society in all parts continues to reinforce this drive. Religious groups only serve to teach hypocrisy and guile in hiding ones drives.

    So until you show me why a variant of bullying, which I regard rape as being, is to be the name best suiting the totality, then I remain unconvinced. Yes, rape leads to violation of our persons and our bodies, but the sexual connotation is misleading and distracts from the main drive vector. Domination and survival at the expense of others. Lebensraum, as Hitler (?) said.

    Please explain.
    —————————

    17 idealist707
    1, June 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Woosty,
    Woosty wrote: “But when Big exists in their present size by making sure that Little has to conform to certain basic behaviors that they do not…and especially if they ‘make up the rules’ unilaterally,.the word is not ‘Bully’

    When Big refuses to enforce those rules upon himself but insists that Little continue to be placed at risk by those same rule to Bigs advantage….the field is doubly imbalanced……Woosty.
    —————

    Excellent. Really.

    But then you have branched into the methods of bullying. Encountered everywhere and at all levels of govenment and business, such as banking, to give societal sanction to evil deeds, to hide unethical coercion, to simply use society to enforce the advantage they enjoy because of position.

    Bullies cooperate, it is attendant on success in achieving personal goals. And they have earlier internalized the goals as seen in society—to borrow from Chomsky.
    But they are highly competitive. They must be, for reasons of subversion from below and defeat from the side and of course repression from above.

    I fully respect your need to name it as rape. Such attachments or visualizations are each person’s way of handling it mentally and/or emotionally.

    I see the bully, you see the rapist. Equally valid. But we must see how it grows out of the individual and reinforced by the system, fights energetically to survive at the cost of whatever: At the survival of life itself even???
    ————————————-

    This is not meant as a demonstration of prowess nor a lecture.

    It is posted in hopes of inspiring debate.

    Perhaps we do need a “free for all sandbox” to accomodate free discussion on the weekends.
    Free from topic steering of debate.

  6. Mr. Turley,
    Since your court case in Idaho, it appears that the blog has become a home for getting rid of state stores. Although selection can be a problem in state stores, these could be solved with an ordering process to make available products not on the shelfs. But I hope you will allow me to make a case for state stores.
    1. Restricting sales to minors. A commercial store works on the profit motive, and therefore has an incentive to increase sales. State store employees have an incentive to check id and to strictly enforce age laws.
    2. Restrict outlet density. In some poorer urban areas there are liquor stores next to each other on the street. The safety of the area, along with the attractiveness of the area are lessened by the amount and type of foot traffic on the street.
    3. Restrict or prohibit promotions that encourage drinking. Again, the profit motive is in opposition to the social good. Private firms have an incentive to encourage overconsumption to make more profit. State stores do not have this incentive.
    4. Create pri ce incentives for consumers to select lower alcohol products. Again a social good verses the profit motive.
    As you can see, there are legitimate reasons to prefer a state system over a private system. If we regard alcohol as just another product, then the private system is to be preferred. But, if we regard alcohol as a drug with social and health problems, then the society need to be able to control the harm that alcohol does.
    Enjoy your blog, and toasting you with a small sniffer of calvados

  7. This is what would have happened to your post Nal, Gene H throwing in his logic routine at 2:30, if Idealist707 had not hijacked the thread:

  8. Joetheiceman,

    Ahhh! How nice that others see the benefits of damage containment, etc. with regard to alcohol.

    Calvados is not bad, nor is marc either, nor a 25 year
    vertical tour of 5 cognacs, not to mention privately produced Metaxa. And of course grappa, and homemade schnappes with various berry types added. Specialty in Sweden. Everybody has their own family recipe.

    I’d toast you now but the “hard liquor” is at the cottage and the car battery is kaputski.

  9. idealist707 1, June 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Dredd,

    Just scroll on by. You do of course, know how. OR is this your way of telling me you love me?
    =============================== ;)

  10. David Blauw 1, June 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Dredd,

    I know a woman that would have loved to sit on that sucker for the first two minutes. ….. maybe longer !
    idealist707 1, June 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    David,
    I think it might be the one down the hall in my Hawaii hotel. She broke down her door, with her lungs only.
    ====================================
    Yep, she washes her knickers in ABC liquor … she got game … she got Secret Services …

  11. Pete, it’s part of the formula. It’s why people in prison say, “I know my rights” so often. Even on TV.

Comments are closed.