"While competition is a valid argument for privatizing liquor sales, the larger issue is the damage that would be done to our community if sales were privatized.
North Carolina would not save any money if sales were privatized. Local ABC systems are self-supporting—no tax dollars, local, or state support is used for their operation. The Mecklenburg County ABC Board returned $30,769,932 to the state in fiscal year 2012.
One way private business owners measure success is by retained profits. A private business owner would have no interest in supporting the community to the extent that the Mecklenburg County ABC Board does. During fiscal year 2012, we returned $6,412,497 to Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library. We supported local organizations who provide substance abuse services ($3,688,888) as well as public education and law enforcement ($1,599,353). Total local support was $11,700,738. Private business owners collectively would not return their profit to the community to that extent. Non-profit organizations who receive funding from us and key partnerships we have (for example: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools) would suffer from the absence of our Board.
Product price would not necessarily reduce. As we have seen with a control system that recently privatized, when private businesses are forced to apply to the state for retail licenses, the fee structure set forced the increase to be passed along to the consumer. In our current control system, prices are uniform throughout the state and pricing wars are eliminated.
If sales privatized, the number of outlets selling alcohol would dramatically increase. Now, there are 23 retail locations in Mecklenburg County that sell distilled spirits. If privatized, given our population, conservative estimates would put the number of outlets rising into the hundreds. Exposure to youth would dramatically increase and research indicates increased numbers of alcohol outlets increase underage consumption. Alcohol remains the drug-of-choice for youth and increased exposure would negatively impact our community’s public health and safety. In recent years, North Carolina has had per-capita consumption rates within the bottom 5 in the nation. Our control system plays a key role in making product available to those who choose to purchase while returning profits back to the community for the benefit of all. A control system is a clear example of doing more for the local community than just selling a bottle."
Full response from Mecklenburg County ABC Board
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