Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Alabama Lawmaker Arthur Orr has Big Idea to Destroy State’s Competitive Business

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Alabama State Senator Arthur Orr (R, Decatur) has proposed eliminating the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board‘s retail outlets statewide.

Senator Orr represents the Third District, which includes Morgan, Madison and Limestone counties in the Alabama State Senate.

He attempts to justify his position by asking a rhetorical question, on pretense of being modern: “The fundamental question, I think, for us as legislators and as a state, is, should the state of Alabama be in the retail liquor business in the twenty-first century. Is this truly a function of state government?”

If he were truly modern, he would propose to eliminate the entire agency, and completely rewrite law to allow liquor to be sold in grocery stores throughout the state 7 days a week, just as California has done for years. The siren song of “lower prices” lured Washington state legislators to completely got out of their beverage alcohol wholesale & retail business. However, that states’ citizens actually saw prices skyrocket as a result.

However, I sincerely doubt he will entertain any such ideas. After all, Alabama was the 50th state in the Union to legalize home brewing of beer & wine. Mississippi had actually passed legislation which their governor signed, that legalized the practice, but didn’t become effect until after a 30-day period. In that time frame, Alabama passed legislation which Governor Bentley signed, which became effective immediately. So, while dead last, Alabama beat Mississippi to the punch by a matter of a few days.

Those are not progressive ideas. Those are not progressive behaviors.

Arthur Orr is not progressive.

If one is not progressive, one is not simply static, one is regressive, because things left alone do not get better or improve on their own. They eventually deteriorate. Eliminating effective laws and their agencies – a type of self destruction – is not a function of state government.

Alabama has 169 state-operated stores, with nearly 600 employees.

Senator Orr asserts that, “By not having the state employees, the leases, the utilities, the insurance , the equipment and the cash registers – all that goes away.”

He attempts to justify his proposal by claiming a cost savings of approximately $46 Million. However, his proposal would also fire the nearly 600 employees.

However, what Senator Orr forgets is that Alabama does not need 600 more out-of-work people. Alabama does not need increased unemployment. Alabama does not need to throw those people and their families to the wolves, with a simple cheery adieu of “Good luck!”

According to the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Alabama is only one of 12 states  in the retail liquor business. The NABCA represents the Control State Systems, which are those states and local jurisdictions that directly control the distribution and sale of beverage alcohol.

Of those 12 states that retail liquor, they each handle retail functions differently. Some have only state run stores, while others – such as Tennessee – have licensed “agents” that sell liquor for the state within a private business. Alabama is unique because it has a mixture of state run stores and privately operated stores – a truly win-win, and free market competition situation.

Yet on another level, one must ask this question: In a competitive environment, where a free market is the ideal, why do some oppose the idea of allowing government participation in such competition? Is it not inherently anti-competitive to deny government the opportunity to compete?

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