Friday, January 15, 2010

Another Voice of Reason

I was heartened by this editorial in The Howard County Times this week that questions the wisdom of the legislative effort by Delegates Guy Guzzone and Warren Miller to limit liquor store competition in Howard County.

“The beverage association, of course, has an interest in keeping a lid on the number of licenses. Its members get enough competition from each other and would rather not see more. That's understandable, but hardly a reason to pass legislation.

More competition would benefit consumers of beer, wine and liquor, though, and that's reason enough to be skeptical of this bill.”

When this bipartisan effort was launched by Guzzone and Miller back in November, they tried to spin it as a way to help curb underage drinking. The truth is that the licensed beverage lobby is a powerful political force in this state and it looks like they have Guzzone and Miller in their pockets to help them limit competition.


Freemarket said...

I wonder why the HCT did not opine on a booze tax?

Anonymous said...

What part of the State Law regarding Alcohol Sales not being a true market don't you understand?

§ 1-101. Declaration of policy.

(a) Regulation necessary.-

(1) It is the policy of the State of Maryland that it is necessary to regulate and control the manufacture, sale, distribution, transportation and storage of alcoholic beverages within this State and the transportation and distribution of alcoholic beverages into and out of this State to obtain respect and obedience to law and to foster and promote temperance.

(2) It is the legislative intent that that policy will be carried out in the best public interest by empowering the Comptroller of the Treasury, the various local boards of license commissioners and liquor control boards, all enforcement officers and the judges of the various courts of this State with sufficient authority to administer and enforce the provisions of this article.

(3) The restrictions, regulations, provisions and penalties contained in this article are for the protection, health, welfare and safety of the people of this State.

(4) It also is the policy of the State to tax alcoholic beverages as provided in the Tax - General Article, and to deny to any political subdivision in this State the power or authority, either by public general law or by public local law, to impose any tax on distilled spirits, beer, wine and all other alcoholic beverages on and after July 1, 1955.

(b) Powers authorized.-

(1) It continues to be the policy of this State to authorize the exercise of the powers and authority provided by this article for the purpose of displacing or limiting economic competition by regulating or engaging in the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages or both in order to obtain respect and obedience to law, to foster and promote temperance, to prevent deceptive, destructive, and unethical business practices, and to promote the general welfare of its citizens by controlling the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages.

(2) The officials and agencies granted powers and authority by this article to regulate and engage in the alcoholic beverages industry may displace or limit economic competition by regulating and engaging in the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages or both on an exclusive basis as provided in this article and may adopt and enforce regulations authorized by this article notwithstanding any anticompetitive effect.

(3) The powers granted to any official or agency pursuant to this subsection may not be construed:

(i) To grant to the official or agency powers in any substantive area not otherwise granted to the official or agency by other public general or public local law;

(ii) To restrict the official or agency from exercising any power granted to the official or agency by other public general or public local law or otherwise;

(iii) To authorize the official or agency or officers of the agency to engage in any activity which is beyond their power under other public general law, public local law, or otherwise; or

(iv) To preempt or supersede the regulatory authority of any State department or agency under any public general law.

[An. Code, 1951, § 1; 1951, ch. 566, § 1; 1954, ch. 8, § 1; 1983, ch. 510; 1987, ch. 11, § 1; 1989, ch. 5, §§ 15, 17; 1993, ch. 594; 1994, ch. 3, § 2.]

Anonymous said...

Perhaps WB would like to make alcohol generally available like milk and diet coke. Are we off to medical marijuana nest WB?

Anonymous said...

I just question the wisdom of Bates and Miller. Period. MIller can't even get the name of his hometown correct.

Constituent pandering: FAIL

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10
Hack Partisanship Fail