By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
RALEIGH — A week after the North Carolina Association of ABC Boards wrote legislators to ask them not to privatize liquor sales, the Christian Action League has delivered a similar letter reminding lawmakers of the history of alcoholic beverage control and the need to maintain the critical balance between revenue and consumption.
“Privatization is typically lauded or promoted by two groups: (1) those who believe that the government can achieve greater revenue streams by privatizing, or, (2) those who use alcohol regulation as a bully pulpit calling for smaller government,” wrote the Rev. Mark Creech, the CAL’s executive director. “The first approach proves to be unsuccessful in the long-term and the second approach fails to provide the citizenry with the most effective protections from alcohol abuses.”
He said the letter, aligning the CAL with the N.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, the N.C. League of Municipalities, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and others who oppose privatization, was meant to help focus state leaders on one of the most critical public health issues they will have taken up in more than a half century, and to begin briefing them on the upcoming policy feud which could be brutal.
“We expect that this battle could be as big as the one over the lottery,” said Creech. “They will certainly be hearing from spirits promoters. They need to hear from health advocates as well.”
In his message to Representatives, Senators and the Governor, he made it clear that the League’s purpose is not to try bring back prohibition, but to assist policy makers with information concerning the best way to protect the public’s health by preventing or reducing alcohol abuse. He went on to remind them that control systems like the one in place in North Carolina for more than seven decades are the result of careful study by an anti-prohibitionist group (the Committee of Fifty) to determine the best way to make liquor available to those adults who choose to drink responsibly without promoting its sale.
“How easy it is to forget that such an effective policy of alcohol control came about not as a result of either free market forces or anti-alcohol sentiment, but because it had been carefully studied and deemed the most practical and superior means for protecting the public’s interest,” the letter said. “This remains the case today.”
While conceding that no system of alcohol regulation is without its “inefficiencies, corruptions, or failures,” Creech’s letter cited a Marin Institute study released in September 2010 that showed control state residents consume less spirits and less alcohol in general than in license states and that control states collect more than three times as much revenue per gallon of alcohol sold as spirits. North Carolina ranks 48th in per capita consumption levels of spirits and 3rd in the nation in the amount of revenue garnered per gallon.
To view the Christian Action League’s letter, in its entirety, click here