Here is the press release that I issued in response to Senator Edwards' plans to privatize the sale of liquor (and to push the sale of hard liquor on Sundays) throughout the state of North Carolina. I am one hundred percent opposed.
SENATE CANDIDATE BRIAN CASKEY OPPOSES PRIVATIZATION OF NORTH CAROLINA'S LIQUOR INDUSTRY
Senator Edwards Wants Liquor Sold In Grocery Stores on Sunday
Mills River, NC--- North Carolina State Senate candidate Brian Caskey says he will oppose the privatization of North Carolina’s liquor sales, a concept that has been promoted recently by incumbent Chuck Edwards. “I will oppose any attempt by the General Assembly to push liquor into hundreds - if not thousands - of new outlets, including grocery stores and pharmacies. The Alcoholic Beverage Control system currently protects public safety and welfare, just as it’s designed to do, and is operated entirely without state funds. The ABC system promotes measured consumption as well as revenue generation, and it works hard to keep alcohol out of the hands of North Carolina’s underaged children.”
Caskey points to the fact that in North Carolina, a significant amount of revenue from alcohol sales go to state and local governments. In those states where ABC boards do not exist, such as New York and California, all profits go to private businesses and other entities. It’s projected that local governments in Buncombe, Transylvania and Henderson Counties will lose more than $5 Million of revenue annually under Edwards’ plan. “Senator Edwards has not suggested a viable replacement for the millions of dollars of local government funding that would be lost, and it seems quite clear that his real goal is to shift that money into his donor’s pockets.” Edwards’ campaign received contributions from the NC Retail Merchant Association during the last campaign cycle, and that lobbying group advocates strongly for the privatization of alcohol sales and pushes hard for the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
According to the ABC’s last annual report, $25 million went to local alcohol law enforcement and alcohol prevention, treatment, and recovery programs in 2018. Additionally, the ABC system distributed $80 million directly to city and county governments.
Under current laws in North Carolina, counties and municipalities must approve the sale of liquor in their communities. Under privatization, spirits would likely be available in all communities, regardless of local preference, Caskey explained. “This is big government overreach at its’ finest. This is Raleigh telling our local communities what to do, and Senator Edwards, as usual, is fine going right along with the rest of the General Assembly.”
Senator Edwards has not suggested a viable replacement for the millions of dollars of local government funding that would be lost, and it seems quite clear that his real goal is to shift that money into his donor’s pockets.
“We shouldn’t forget that a significant percentage of ABC revenue goes towards educating the public about the dangers of over-consumption of alcohol, including the youngest members of our society, through programs such as the award-winning ‘Talk It Out’ campaign,” Caskey said. “We already have an opioid epidemic in North Carolina. Let’s solve that, without adding rampant alcoholism to the state’s list of problems.”
“With privatization, we are likely to see an increase not only in the cost of alcohol, but also in terms of costs to the community. There will be more DUIs; there will be more vehicle fatalities; there will be more domestic violence; there will be more underaged drinking. We must ask ourselves, why is there a burning need for alcohol sales to be privatized, and for alcoholic beverages to be much more available to heavy drinkers and to our youth? Why is there a need for hard liquor to be sold on Sundays? The answer is, there isn’t -- unless you’re an alcohol distributor and you care more about money than moderation, or unless you’re a State Senator who wishes to please his donors while completely disregarding the safety of North Carolina’s citizens. Senator Edwards’ plan is reckless and irresponsible, and I stand one hundred percent opposed.”