What Sen. Arthur Orr envisions for the Alcohol Beverage Control could be worse for Alabama citizens than the current liquor control system. The elimination of state retail liquor stores, while leaving the state monopoly of wholesale liquor in place, will result in higher prices for consumers. Currently, all private liquor stores must buy from the ABC, which marks up its liquor significantly; however, private retail markups are forced down by the existence of state-run retail liquor stores with which they must compete. If private stores must pay the current high wholesale price, but only compete with each other, then the retail price will naturally increase.
The only solution is to do away with the entire antiquated system and allow the free market to operate unencumbered, as is the case with the majority of U.S. states. This is not Orr’s goal; he wants to keep ABC’s operating revenue by removing the consumer benefits provided by the agency, not closing it. Orr himself asked, “Should the state be in the liquor business in the 21st century? Is that truly a mission of state government?” Apparently Orr believes it is, because his bill retains the state liquor monopoly, but in a way that will ultimately result in higher prices for Alabama citizen and open the door to further interference from state regulations.
I thought conservatives abhorred raising taxes and interference with the free market, but apparently Orr does not.
John Clinton Harris