Very interesting article in the Daily Herald today about a bill being prepared by Rep Ryan Wilcox (R-Ogden) that would “privatize” Utah’s liquor stores. Finally privatizing a retail business run by the state sounds like a great idea, right? Except, by “privatize”, the bill apparently means “keeping the state as your wholesaler,” “not having full control over what you sell” and “still having to follow state restrictions on alcohol”. Um, will someone please ask Rep Wilcox to look up the definition of “privatize”?
Recent state budget cuts threaten to force the closure of several state liquor stores. However, whether you are an imbiber or a teetotaler, the fact is that state liquor stores are a sources of revenue for the state — so why would the state cut revenue by cutting the apron strings on their retail stores?
“We have a very good system going,” said Sam Granato, Chairman of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. “We don’t just make money for the state of Utah, we basically print it.”
The state has a “very good system indeed” . . . they hold a firm monopoly on liquor sales across the state. It seems the prudent thing would be to either hold on to state liquor stores as a shiny (though weird) revenue source, or truly privatize the liquor industry.
pri·vat·ize — transitive verb: to make private; especially : to change (as a business or industry) from public to private control or ownership: to remove (something) from government control and place it in private control or ownership.