Supermarkets in Tennessee are prohibited from selling wine and hard liquor. The Republican legislators now running the legislature want to change that. Guess who’s opposing them?
The liquor stores.
David McMahan, a lobbyist for the state liquor stores association, said the proposal could undermine the state’s efforts to combat underage drinking and would unfairly hurt existing businesses established with the understanding they would have exclusive rights to sell wine.
“This whole thing is much more complicated than the convenience of somebody saying, ‘Hey I’d like get my bottle of wine where I buy my pork chop,’” he said. “It’s really not that inconvenient.”
With final campaign finance reports still pending for the 2012 election cycle, the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers PAC had given more than $128,000 to state candidates and committees, a 46 percent increase over the previous two-year cycle and eight times as much as it gave in the 2003-2004 cycle.
Meanwhile, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Tennessee gave more than $205,800 in the recently completed election cycle, tripling the amount it spent in the 2004 cycle.
For similar examples of industries using public-good arguments to justify regulation keeping out competitors, see:
- The Restaurant Association of Washington arguing that food trucks dangerously crowd our sidewalks.
- The sugar industry funding PR campaigns against corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.
- Red-light-camera makers lobbying for more red-light cameras.
- Big milk producers trying to crack down on raw milk.
- Existing casinos trying to kill proposed new casinos.
- Pot growers favoring pot prohibition.
- The guys who make breathalyzer-ignition things, lobbying for more mandates on them.
- Philip Morris supporting tobacco regulation.