R Street's Cameron Smith wrote about Alabama's attempt to smuggle a tax increase into the state budget through the vehicle of a liquor markup. As Smith points out: "The point of the ABC isn't to craft state budget policy with its markup authority. In fact, there's a pretty good argument that the ABC doesn't really have much of a point at all." The whole thing is worth reading:
The bureaucrats of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) are poised to pass a legally-suspect tax hike, and the Alabama Legislature is complicit. The only question left is whether Gov. Kay Ivey will "un-Bentley" the ABC's pending tax hike before it's too late.
Let me explain what I mean.
If there were ever a champion of ABC's unnecessary bureaucracy, it was former Gov. Robert Bentley. He repeatedly opposed the efforts to get Alabama out of the liquor business. Whether it was overhauling the whole system or more discrete efforts like Sen. Arthur Orr's (R-Decatur) plan to eliminate the ABC's retail operations, Bentley claimed that any change would lessen the ABC's ability to enforce Alabama's liquor laws. The former governor's sentiment fell a little flat when he actually undermined the ABC's ability to enforce liquor laws by moving ABC's law enforcement capacity to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) in 2013.
Bentley's oversight of the ABC continued to raise eyebrows when he demonstrated his lack of fiscal conservatism by giving ABC Administrator Mac Gipson an 80% pay increase that Gipson didn't even request.
Maybe Gipson thought the pay increase included new responsibility because the ABC is now meddling in state budget policy. More specifically, the ABC is poised to impose a 5% tax hike on liquor to pay for a specific line item in Alabama's General Fund budget...
The rest can be found here: http://www.rstreet.org/op-ed/will-gov-kay-ivey-un-bentley-the-abcs-liquor-tax-hike/