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Poll Shows Support for Liquor Privatization in Utah

Posted on  | January 23, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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A new poll could add fuel to the debate over privatizing liquor in Utah.

A poll released Friday by the political website UtahPolicy.com claimed 58% of registered voters think Utah should not control liquor sales. Only 37% insisted the state keep control, said the poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates.

“We were a little bit shocked by that as well,” said Bryan Schott, UtahPolicy.com’s managing editor. “And it cut across all the ideological lines.”

UtahPolicy.com’s poll found 50% of Republicans support a “free market” approach to liquor sales, 44% supported state control. Democrats overwhelmingly supported it, 79% to 20%. Independent voters supported the “free market” 61%  to 35%, who backed state control.

Amongst LDS Church members, 49% supported state control. But UtahPolicy.com said a surprising 45%  did not want state control of liquor.

“It’s always nice to see a poll in support of what you’re working towards,” said Rep. Ryan D. Wilcox, R-Ogden, who is planning legislation that could include some level of privatization of liquor stores in Utah.

Wilcox, who is a non-drinking LDS Church member, said he believes the free market should sell liquor. He insists the state can regulate it.

“I’m uncomfortable with the state being in the retail business of alcohol,” Wilcox told FOX 13 on Friday. “Yes, I believe the state does best when we focus on our specific role as a state. In this case, I believe the state does a good job of public safety, focusing on law enforcement, focusing on appropriate regulation.”

Wilcox said the bills he is drafting are gaining support in the state House. The Senate, meanwhile, is looking at overhauling the agency that controls and sells liquor in Utah, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“There will be some restructuring in the DABC,” said Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem.

Valentine told FOX 13 he is planning legislation that would overhaul the agency, including who would control the DABC. The agency has been mired in scandal for the past year, over allegations of mismanagement. A criminal probe is under way. Some lawmakers have branded the DABC’s troubles “corruption.”

“I can confirm that the governor and myself and members of the House have been in active discussion about what to do with the restructure,” he said. “We have some disagreements.”

Source: FOX 13 News

January 20, 2012


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