Last call for Alabama’s state-run retail liquor operations

R Street's Cameron Smith writes:

In the 21st century, why does the State of Alabama need to be in the liquor business? Frankly, that is the question state legislators need to consider, and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, believes that removing the state from the retail liquor business is the answer.

Conservative officials in the state constantly repeat the refrain of limiting the role of government to its legitimate functions. Phasing out many aspects of Alabama’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board brings that ideal to life.

To be clear, Alabama’s ABC Board is one of the better-run government agencies in the state. ABC Administrator Mac Gipson and his team run a complex system that, among other responsibilities, operates 176 ABC stores and oversees licensing and compliance for more than 550 privately operated package stores.

Gipson proudly points to the fact that the ABC Board pays for itself and alcohol sales generate important revenues for the State of Alabama. All that is true.

Oddly, it would probably still be true even if Orr were successful at phasing Alabama out of the liquor-retail business....