April 3, 2013

Greg Kesich: Raising state revenue through liquor sales has other costs

Increased sales also mean more of the bad things that happen when people drink too much.

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But instead of treating alcohol like the major drug problem that it is, we yell about bath salts and want to save money by screening welfare recipients for smoking pot.

"All illegal drug use is like the Mediterranean and alcohol is like the Pacific," Kleiman said. "We've got our whole fleet in the Mediterranean."

Maine's situation is complicated because New Hampshire and its discount liquor stores are so close to so many residents. But rather than lowering prices to better compete, it might be better to raise prices here, avoiding social costs and investing more in law enforcement around the state line.

I'm not expecting either Democrats or Republicans to take on this issue. Making booze harder to get is a political loser for either party. The bill that opened the bars at 6 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day was more popular than the great Whoopee Pie as State Snack movement of 2011.

But if our lawmakers were really serious about raising revenue and improving people's lives, they would be arguing about how to make booze more expensive, not cheaper.

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor. He can be contacted at 791-6481 or at:

gkesich@pressherald.com


Correction: This column was revised at 9:50 a.m., April 3, 2013, to correct the spelling of Mark Kleiman's name.

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