Former Michigan Liquor Control Commissioner and Michigan House of Representatives Floor Leader Pat Gagliardi has authored a new report, The Need for State Alcohol Regulatory Funding: Fighting Deregulation by Defunding, made possible by a grant from the Center for Alcohol Policy.
“In repealing Prohibition, a national consensus was achieved that alcohol could be sold legally again, but only under state control,” Gagliardi notes in his report. “In crafting alcohol policy today, it is imperative that states understand both the history of alcohol regulation and the need for an effective regulatory structure.
“The fervor to cut budgets and anti-regulatory sentiment can lead to ill-considered changes in alcohol policy,” the report continues. “There is a real danger that state alcohol control will be reduced to the point of ineffectiveness by overburdening the regulatory system that, to date, has been successful and has enjoyed overwhelming public support.”
At the recent NABCA Annual Legal Symposium on Alcohol Beverage Law and Regulation attended by Gagliardi, he notes that presenters Craig Wolf, president and CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, and Craig Purser, president and CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, maintain that the current three-tier system is profitable for every tier and is friendly to consumers. The system, they say, is accountable for things like tainted alcohol, which in other countries is a problem. Wolf and Purser think the three-tier system can and should survive.
“I have seen firsthand how law enforcement officers are struggling to do more with less funding and resources,” says Center for Alcohol Policy Advisory Council member Jerry Oliver, former Detroit Chief of Police and former head of the Arizona Liquor Control Commission. “This report shines some much needed light on an issue that can have big consequences in communities across the country.”
The report analyzes the number of alcohol enforcement agents in states across the country, their increasing workload, and the scope of their duties, as well as the record number of licenses for enforcement agents to monitor. The report also outlines several suggestions for ways states can seek to increase funding for their alcohol beverage control operations.
“The reality is that smarter and better equipped regulation and enforcement of existing laws can result in increased tax revenue and improved public health and safety,” Gagliardi concludes in his report. “Advocates for retaining a strong state-run alcohol policy understand that sufficient resources must be dedicated to the regulation of alcohol to ensure a fair marketplace as well as reduce substance abuse and to protect the health and safety especially of children.”
For more information about the report, contact Pat Gagliardi at (517) 420-8860. You can also access the full report here.