Cheers to the liquor change | Editorial
June 15, 2012 · 9:53 AM
We’re just two weeks into the private sale of liquor in this state and already there are people complaining.
The prices, they say, are not lower, and in some cases higher, than what the state charged in its liquor stores.
They’re right, of course, but what did they expect — liquor at Dollar Store prices?
What they forget, but was clearly obvious before the vote to turn state stores into private enterprise, is that any change had to maintain the level or revenue to the state from liquor sales.
That’s translated into a hefty 20.5 tax on liquor at checkout. Other non-food items are taxed at about half that rate. There’s also a $3.77 liter tax.
What’s more important is that the shift from state stores to the private sector means liquor is more widely available both in terms of location and hours of operation.
That is a huge plus.
In fact, there’s now more than four times the number of private retailers selling liquor than the number of state-owned and state-contracted liquor stores.
It’s not that we think that people faced a calamity when they wanted a bottle of hooch at 11 p.m. when no state liquor store was open. But there is nothing wrong with being able to get a bottle of liquor at that time. It’s also a plus that you can put that bottle of vodka in your shopping cart along with fresh eggs, vegetables and pet food.
And, while prices are pretty much the same as before, competition is beginning to take hold. People who have reward cards with grocery stores are finding that special prices are popping up on liquor, just as they are on other goods.
For those still upset at the change, there’s one other benefit: they can drown their sorrows in a stiff drink pretty much any time they want.