The on-again, off-again fight over whether North Carolina should be in the liquor business is on again.
State leaders are again asking whether it's time to go private. Gov. Bev Perdue hired a Chicago company to weigh the pros and cons of the Alcohol Beverage Control system and report back with a list of options. She expects to hear back any week now.
But the North Carolina Association of ABC Boards, including Mecklenburg County's, is already fighting privatization.
“You have a lot more outlets. It increases sales, which increases consumption, which increases exposure to minors,” Mecklenburg County ABC CEO Paul Stroup III said.
The group’s lobbyist sent Raleigh a letter spelling out ABC's social and economic benefits. The letter says ABC stores land the state more than $210 million each year and that cities and counties get more than $60 million of it for law enforcement, treatment centers and other expenses. That's why, the letter says, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police want to keep ABC the way it is.
But Charlotte City Council member Warren Cooksey, who is also with the League of Municipalities, said that the league hasn't taken a side yet. But he does worry about changes that could cost Charlotte millions.
“My concern is, what would be the impact to Charlotte taxpayers in the Charlotte budget?” he said.
Perdue's office told Eyewitness News that the governor won't go along with any plan that "snatches dollars" from cities and counties.