In my view the new wine in grocery is a terribly flawed bill. I have supported wine in grocery stores for so long that if I were serving in the state Senate, I would have probably voted for the bill anyway, if I thought that was all we could get. In casting any vote, one cannot look at only the merits of the bill in a vacuum but must ask, does this bill move in the right direction; is it better than what we have now? And, is the the best we can get? I think this bill does move in the right direction. I think it is an improvement over the status quo. Is it the best we can get?
I am terrible disappointment that in our state legislature where Republicans have an overwhelming majority that this is as good of a bill as we could get. Republicans claim to believe in a market economy, but in practice often do not vote any more pro free-market than Democrats. I think we would eventually have wine in grocery stores, even if Democrats had the majority, and I cannot imagine that a bill passed by a Democrat majority would have been any worse.
I am pleased to see the Knoxville's Metro Pulse explain how bad the wine-in-grocery-stores bill really is for consumers and point out the hypocrisy of free-market Republicans voting for price controls. The worse part of the bill is the price fixing that requires a 20 percent markup over the wholesale price. Other bad provisions include a provision that gives nearby liquor stores a veto over a grocer selling wine until 2017 and the provision that allows liquor stores to start selling other products immediately but requires a two-years wait before consumers can get wine in grocery stores.
If this is the absolute best we can get then the House should go ahead and pass it. However, if there is a chance of getting a better bill next year, I say put it off another year.
Below is the link to the Metro Pulse story:
What About Consumers? You Can't Blame Liquor Lobbyists for Writing a Favorable Bill, but Legislators Need to Proof It