Letters and Opinion

Editorial was uninformed

February 1, 2014

What an ignorant editorial [Jan. 27] regarding alcohol. If only editorial writers had to know their subject before committing their thoughts to paper.

Coming out of Prohibition, all 50 states were allowed to design their own alcohol laws via their legislature to reflect the attitudes of their constituents towards alcohol. The hope was the citizens would then be willing to obey those laws rather than the lawlessness that erupted during national Prohibition, and have the resulting tax revenue to enforce their laws.

The three-tier system was also designed at that time to aid in regulation and tax collection. It was not designed to be efficient. The careful regulation of alcohol is more important than efficiency.

While all states’ alcohol laws are similar in nature, after 80 years of evolution, no two are alike. Taken out of context, our alcohol laws may appear “quirky,” but Indiana families have made huge investments in their businesses based on those laws, and changes should only be considered thoughtfully in the Legislature to safeguard against unintended consequences.

Because Hoosiers are only going to drink a finite amount of alcohol each year and all that alcohol is being consumed now, changes in alcohol laws often just shift the sales from one Indiana company to another, creating winners and losers.

Your editorial would support the big (Monarch Beverage, convenience store and grocery store chains) getting bigger by taking sales away from the small (smaller wholesalers and retailers). There would be no additional alcohol sales and no additional excise tax or sales tax revenue for the state. Just lost jobs through economies of scale.

In other words, a net job loss for the state while large alcohol sellers just get larger. Since this is not good alcohol public policy for the state, the legislature has rejected repeated overtures from Monarch Beverage and the convenience/grocery stores to change the laws in their favor. That is why they have turned to the courts in hopes of winning in spite of the consequences to the state.

It’s all about winners and losers. Follow the money.
__________

Marc Carmichael, president,
Indiana Beverage Alliance

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