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U.S. States Consider Retail Liquor Privatization

Cash strapped state governments in the U.S. are also considering increased privatization of liquor retail in order to raise money to fight ballooning deficits. The basic argument is correct: government makes money from liquor retail by imposing taxes (or hidden taxes) at the wholesale level. Government involvement at the retail level is actually a drain on the wholesale revenue because the private sector can run retail operations more efficiently and less expensively than government can. This is true in B.C. and in most U.S. states with government involvement in retail. If government got out of the retail side, it would actually generate more money to fund social programs or fight deficits. Retail is simply not a \”core government service\”. Pretty basic economics really. No doubt there will be more to come on this issue.

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