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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Some state leaders say it’s time for North Carolina to sell its control of liquor sales, but today Gov. Bev Perdue said the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control system is the way to go for now.

Since taking office two years ago, Perdue has had to find ways to close the state’s budget gap. Thursday she said getting out of the booze business is not the way to do it.

“I simply don’t want to be the governor, I really don’t, who puts liquor into the big huge Target, Walmart stores or the local convenience stores,” Perdue said.

Wilmington resident Julia Bartley agrees.

“I think it should probably stay the way that it is,” Bartley said. “I really do because I believe that we would have a bigger problem with alcohol than we already do if it was at the grocery store and places where kids are in and out of there constantly.”

Many state leaders see the sale of North Carolina’s current ABC system as a potential source of new revenue. But some wonder, if it’s not broken, why fix it?

According to the Associated Press, state and local governments across North Carolina profited about $275.6 million in liquor sales last year. Needless to say, county leaders across the state are nervous about losing the revenue.

New Hanover County is no different. County ABC Board Chair Thomas Wolfe says the county received more than $ million from liquor sales last year. He says if the business is privatized the county would lose money it desperately needs.

“I don’t know where those funds would come from if it was privatized,” Wolfe said. “I know that the state would get its cut, but I don’t know where the county would get theirs.”

Though the governor says she wants the idea shelved, the new Republican leadership in Raleigh says its still willing to give the idea a shot.

The push to privatize the ABC system was fueled in part by problems with New Hanover County’s system, Including a lack of oversight that let the former CEO make about a $250,000 a year.

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11 Comments on "Perdue opposes privatizing NC liquor operations"

2015 years 9 months ago

I sure wish someone would look into the anti-trust laws to determine how the government of North Carolina, seems to get away with being the only place that sells liqour. With no competition the ABC board can charge whatever they deem fit for a product. How is this legal? No other monopolies are allowed in America. Even if the state constitution allows this to occur, the Federal Laws supercede and overrule state laws. When will the people of North Carolina stand up and react? When will we realize that Competition among liquor stores would ultimately lead to lower prices for consumers

2015 years 9 months ago

Government control equals good, even if it’s an anti-competitive monopoly.

Free enterprise equals bad.

2015 years 9 months ago

What are you talking about? You are saying if privatization occurred, there would be a wider selection of liquor to choose from. That is ridiculous. In case you were not aware, it cost money to order the liquor before you place it on the shelf. It is not fronted to you. What private company could either fit in the store or even afford to place hundreds of different items in it? I really cant think of too many that would do that. If one area of the city’s customers drinks mostly rum and vodka, and another part of the county drinks mostly gin and brandy, why would they keep a wide variety on hand? Each business would sell way fewer items, and only those that were “top sellers” would be sold. And as far as the “Same old dingy and scary abc stores”… I really have never walked in to ANY other place and been able to see my own reflection in the FLOOR tiles. I am not sure how much you are able to get out, but you should check out the Carolina Beach store one day. It’s only the largest in the state. If you can not find what you are looking for, then you are just plain picky. And if you are not able to find it, there is a good chance they can order it for you.

2015 years 9 months ago

the abc stores here have very limited choices. The abc board refuses to stock any greater variety ( some say because they’re lazy, they say because they have no room to stock items that the customers request)so people in NC have the same old choices that people in states with less draconian laws had in the 1970’s. Along with providing superior variety, privatization would mean that customers wouldn’t need to go to the same old dingy (& scary) abc stores in the area. In short, the NC ABC board blows.

2015 years 9 months ago

Each year, the ABC Board of NC profits enough money to give almost $300 million to the state. From my understanding, if we were to go private, the state is looking at about $400 million for the first year and then close to almost $0 for the years to come thereafter. Also, that would take away at least 2000 jobs in North Carolina and would not give a single job back in return. Mom and Pop stores would be able to distribute liquor and sell to underage kids every day. Also, with the state controlling the sales of liquor, every bottle is accounted for that comes through North Carolina. The idea of being able to buy your groceries and your liquor in the same store sounds great, but sometimes convenience isn’t always best. Fast food for example… But why would we want to take the money away from our local government and give it to high-profit businesses that could care less about our wetlands, farmlands, or state parks? And someone was complaining about Billy Williams making too much money as CEO. Are people viewing ABC as a group of volunteers? How much Money do you think Walmart’s CEO makes? How about $35 Million. They would sell liquor. And the CEO of American Cancer Society gets over $1 million a year, and that is a “non profit” organization. I know that my opinions do not make a difference, but if someone can please give me ONE legitimate reason why our state should go private, PLEASE let me know. I am still anxious to hear one.

2015 years 9 months ago

just read the posts cory. More variety, nicer stores, cleaner stores & safer stores. I know some of you are brainwashed into thinking that govt. controlled profiteers money really goes to rehabilitating wayward bears, but you need to wake up. Also, you can’t be serious if you think there would be no jobs created, I wonder if they thought that when UPS, FEDEX & RPS starting competing with the post office. This is one of those forest for the trees things in your life.

2015 years 9 months ago

1) Its a gold mine. Makes a lot of money, for very little expense. The ABC Board here was raking in money with high salaries that were actually comensurate with the amount of profit they were generating. Sure you can sell licenses, but the amount of money would be only match current profits for the initial boost and then fall drastically beyond annual profits.

2) When’s the last time an ABC store was robbed vs. a privatized liquor store? They simply don’t get robbed here because there are armed deputies in them. Whereas in the north, knocking over a liquor store is virtually an urban rite of passage.

3) Look at our area bars and how many problems they cause. Do you want liquor stores run the same way? When you put competition and a profit margin on sales of alcohol, you’re going to end up with even more incompetent employees and shady practices. Its one thing for an underage kid to get their hands on a six pack of beer a C-store, but yet another for them to get their hands on hard alcohol. The ABC stores do a very good job of preventing underage people from entering their premise and purchasing alcohol.

I will agree that the ABC program needs reform to become even more fiscally responsible. There is no reason there should be more than 100 ABC boards (there are 161 total in NC) – keep it one per county at a bare minium. It might make even more sense to have a single board over several counties.

2015 years 9 months ago

Here Here. I too am ashamed to say I voted for her. I won’t make that mistake again.

2015 years 9 months ago

Of course she would oppose this. Privatizing businesses like this would minimize State expenses and also help the private sector through competition. Governor Perdue has been a huge mistake for the voters of North Carolina and I am certainly embarrassed that I voted for her.

2015 years 9 months ago

It starts at the top and trickles down and steams up.

Do you think all those folks who raise major dollars for a candidate do so solely for the joy of seeing their candidate elected?

Look at any state agency with appointed officials who serve at the Governor’s leisure. What do you think brings them to the Governor’s attention?

On the county level, who makes the appointments? Where do you think the funds come from for campaigns? New Hanover may be the exception given the recent house cleaning.

Ultimately, it’s about delivering campaign contributions or votes, or both.

If you didn;t get the message watching the testimony concerning Big Mike, then you had blinders on and ear plugs in your ears.

2015 years 9 months ago

Doesn’t she mean the system worked well for a few individuals, like the Williams bunch here that were making a mint from the system? Don’t forget about the Mecklenburg Co. ABC Board chairman and the dinner paid by a liquor company. Our local board is filled with over-paid under competent folks. Both are enough to make a sane person mad.




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