This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.
Nestled in the state House of Representatives’ recently released budget is an intriguing idea: leasing out the state’s liquor wholesaling monopoly for a cool $300 million up front – plus yearly payments thereafter.
Maybe the Legislature shouldn’t be banking on that money, but it certainly ought to be looking at the proposal behind it. If there’s a downside to the leasing scheme, we’re not seeing it.
State government for many decades has exercised complete control over the wholesaling and retail sale of high-octane beverages – buying it from distilleries and other suppliers, warehousing it, distributing it to state-owned liquor stores and pocketing the cash when it is sold.
The sale of booze is not a core function of government; with proper controls, it belongs in the private sector.
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