Perdue opposes privatizing NC liquor operations
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.