SC

Big Liquor Brings Out Big Gun

CAN DAVID WILKINS ADVANCE CRONY CAPITALIST LIQUOR BILL? || By FITSNEWS || After threats from so-called “business leaders” failed to get the job done, Big Liquor is bringing out a “big gun” in its effort to ram a piece of special interest legislation through the S.C. General Assembly. Former S.C. Speaker…

CAN DAVID WILKINS ADVANCE CRONY CAPITALIST LIQUOR BILL?

|| By FITSNEWS || After threats from so-called “business leaders” failed to get the job done, Big Liquor is bringing out a “big gun” in its effort to ram a piece of special interest legislation through the S.C. General Assembly.

Former S.C. Speaker of the House (and ex-U.S. ambassador to Canada) David Wilkins is reportedly calling multiple “Republican” House members – begging them to move forward a so-called “free market liquor bill.

Wait … is Wilkins a registered lobbyist?  Um, no.

But he is a “big gun.”

And this legislation – pushed by Walmart and Maryland-based retailer Total Wine and More – is the furthest thing in the world from “free market” legislation.  It’s a special interest sop – a gift-wrapped competitive advantage to larger retailers at the expense of true competition.

We’ve repeatedly documented the shadiness of Total Wine – which according to our sources is receiving assistance from Wilkins in an oft-delayed case before the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR).

“(Wilkins) is holding up a hearing that has been postponed for the last eighteen months,” a source close to the agency tells FITS.

Lawyers who have argued cases before the agency tell us that’s “very unusual.”

Total Wine and its allies have been relentless in advancing this crony capitalist bill, which would stifle competition and result in decreased selection and higher prices for consumers.

So far, legislators have done the right thing and refused to move the bill forward …

Can Wilkins get them to abandon their convictions?  Obviously this isn’t the first time the fiscally liberal, crony capitalist Speaker has been accused of attempting to wield his influence with lawmakers in an unregistered capacity.

For more on that (and some additional information on his background), click here.

Supporters of the legislation – including one “Republican” leader in the S.C. House – tell FITS the liquor bill would have probably already passed by now had top retail lobbyist Lisa McGill been at the State House from the opening of the legislative session in January.

“This would’ve gotten done – and (FITS) never would have known about it,” the legislative leader told us.

McGill – daughter of former lieutenant governor Yancey McGill – recently returned to the State House from maternity leave, and it’s no coincidence the liquor legislation started moving through the chambers again once she got back into the game.

As for the broader debate over liquor regulation, this website has been consistent from day one: There should be none.  In fact our view is at odds with every interest involved in the debate at the S.C. State House – including the mid-sized retailers we’ve been repeatedly accused of shilling for.

Having said that, “if a law on the books is being ignored in such a manner as to artificially raise prices on consumers – and if existing laws are being ‘reformed’ in such a way as to jack those prices even higher, then we’ve got a big problem with that.”

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26 comments

Princeton Daley May 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

Fits, how would allowing more retailers to sell liquor be a bad thing for consumers? Honest question.

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shifty henry May 20, 2015 at 10:34 am

inquiring minds demand to know….

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Drunk on economic rents May 20, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Doesn’t this actually limit the number of licenses to sell liquor and allow the owners to sell those licenses? Think NYC taxi medallions, but at least they have a reason to limit traffic. I can’t think of any good reason to limit liquor sales outside of the ones that have been universally rejected along with the 19th amendment. Can you?

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TroubleBaby May 20, 2015 at 1:03 pm

“Doesn’t this actually limit the number of licenses to sell liquor and allow the owners to sell those licenses?”

That’s a good question, do you know for sure?

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Ed May 20, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Yes. One license per every 7,500 residents in a county.

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TroubleBaby May 20, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Well then, the whole deal sucks a dong and Will is championing this for a paycheck most likely as it’s clearly a strike against a free market concept.

The only caveat I’ll toss in, is that you have to wonder what criterea they use now to decide who can or can not sell liquor.

I’m sure it’s already a crony cesspool.

Adding even more limitations doesn’t help things though.

? May 20, 2015 at 3:50 pm

I thought the legislation allowed retailers to buy straight from the brewers thus eliminating the local distributors hold on the market…thus the opposion from the “small” guys.

TroubleBaby May 20, 2015 at 5:43 pm

Hmmmm…..I’m not clear at all on what the whole bill contains, pluses or minuses-when it comes to free markets ideals.

Steve May 20, 2015 at 10:48 pm

There are NO free market ideas unless you count a free market idea as Total Wine buying up liquor licenses for a million dollars and then sitting on them so no one else can compete with them.

This is the ENTIRE bill:

(A) Upon the effective date of this section, the number of retail dealer licenses issued in a county shall not exceed the ratio of one license for every seventy-five hundred residents. The department shall not issue an additional retail dealer license in a county that has reached or exceeded a ratio of one license for every seventy-five hundred residents. This limitation upon the number of licenses does not apply to existing licenses or to the renewal or transfer of these licenses. All such licenses are exempt from the provisions of this section as long as the businesses are in continuous operation. The initial population figures used in this computation must be the 2010 United States Decennial Census figures.

(B) The department shall issue an additional retail dealer license in a county: (1) pursuant to licenses authorized under the transfer provisions of Section 61-6-125; or (2) pursuant to an increase in population based on annual estimates published by the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. The department shall review the number of retail dealer licenses for each county at the beginning of each fiscal year and publish results no later than August first of the fiscal year.”

Section 61-6-125. When a licensee has made a bona fide sale of the business which holds a retail dealer license, he may obtain a transfer of such license to the purchaser of the business, provided the purchaser and his proposed location are approved by the department in accordance with procedures required of a new applicant and the proposed location is in the same county. If the transferee and his proposed location are approved by the department, the transferee shall pay a transfer fee of five thousand dollars to the department. This fee is in addition to filing fees and license fees required of all applicants.

A change in ownership of twenty-five percent or more is considered a transfer and subject to the transfer fee.

The department shall waive the transfer fee, but not the filing fee or license fee, when the transfer of interest occurs by operation of law because of death, judicial proceedings, court appointment of a fiduciary, foreclosed or forced judicial sale, or bankruptcy proceedings.”

“(B) Except as provided in Section 61-6-125, licenses and permits are the property of the department and are not transferable. Licenses and permits must be surrendered immediately to the department upon the termination of a business, upon a change of ownership, possession, or control of a corporation or business entity, or upon a change in the character of the property, facilities, or nature of the business activity for which a license or permit has been issued. The transfer of twenty-five percent or more of corporate stock is considered a change in ownership.”

“Section 61-6-4280. Except as provided in Section 61-6-125, licenses and permits are the property of the department, are not transferable, and, upon the termination of a business or upon a change of ownership, possession, or control, or upon a substantial change in the character of the property or facilities or nature of business for which a license or permit has been issued, must be surrendered immediately to the department.

When a person or business has multiple licenses or permits for locations within three hundred feet of each other, administrative penalties may be applied to all the licenses and permits.”

TroubleBaby May 20, 2015 at 11:30 pm

“There are NO free market ideas unless you count a free market idea as
Total Wine buying up liquor licenses for a million dollars and then
sitting on them so no one else can compete with them.”

I agree with you. Thank you for posting the bill, it’s nothing more than licensing restrictions…nothing to do with free markets what so ever.

I appreciate your help.

Ed May 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

It allows less retailers. Joe’s Liquor store can’t buy a liquor license for $500,000. Total Wine could actually buy them up and sit on them. The price is then passed on to the consumer.

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shifty henry May 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

My suspicion is that this is part of Lil’ Benito’s plan to destroy America. If this goes through SC will be flooded with cheap, polluted tequila to poison us and weaken our will to resist the hordes of below-the-border invaders who are immune to gut-rotting liquids…..(just thinking, ya’ know).

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know May 20, 2015 at 11:01 am

Is it also any coincidence that Lisa McGill is back from maternity leave and Hardwick resigns for “health reasons”

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Zed May 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

Oh, no! Another turtle has lost his shell. Always a sad sight.

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TroubleBaby May 20, 2015 at 11:22 am

Mitch McConnell appreciates your sympathy.

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Elfego May 20, 2015 at 11:38 am

South Carolina has its scum!

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utah May 20, 2015 at 11:42 am

So, David Wilkins is calling legislators. The big question then, is, can any of the legislators understand what David Wilkins is saying when he talks to them?

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Crooner May 20, 2015 at 11:59 am

I heard an interesting speech on the history of the legislature’s dealings with liquor back in the ’60s. It seems SC back then did not allow “liquor by the drink” sales in public accommodations. One either had to join a “club” or brown bag to the local eatery. A couple of forward thinking legislators and our governor teamed together to try and push a constitutional amendment through- you know, ’cause in SC every time we want to catch up with the rest of the world we need to amend our constitution.
Anyway, things were looking good for the drinking man until upstate native and NY Yankees baseball star second baseman Bobby Richardson weighed in on the measure, citing the evils of alcohol. That absolutely killed the measure.

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Squishy123 May 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

I thought the Wilkins were too busy naming buildings and bridges after themselves to have time for this foolishness.

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MaryGAdkins May 21, 2015 at 9:34 am

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Calls 'em May 20, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Do any of the members of the General Assembly who were elected post-Wilkins give a shit about what this powerless has-been wants?

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Squishycockchugger May 20, 2015 at 3:26 pm

Don’t fool yourself. He and his brother still swing pretty big dicks around these parts

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Rocky May 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Where is GT? Is it true he’s afraid that he’ll be served in the Bingham law suit? That he’s afraid of having some hacking job done to FITS to steal our info?

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Murrell Simrill May 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

Is this the point when someone points out that Wilkins’ nickname is “ol’ Raisinhead”?

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Ed May 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm

The current House version linked to by this site states that it is one license for every 7,500 residents, which would make us one of the strictest states, if not the strictest.

From Slate:

In most of these quota states, a locality’s population limits the number of available licenses there. In New Jersey, the cap is one license per 3,000 municipal residents, and in Massachusetts, it’s one license per 2,000. Utah probably has the strictest system, with a quota of one license per 4,925 residents.

Aspiring publicans are forced to take on more debt—or surrender more of their business to equity investors—just to get off the ground. In Utah, licenses are expected to go for about $1 million on the newly legalized secondary market, which is about how much liquor licenses already cost in New Mexico and Montana.
Meanwhile, in nonquota states, liquor licenses cost a few hundred dollars in
registration fees.

All regulations have the ability to create winners and losers, and this phenomenon is particularly potent in potables. Economists noticed that the winners often are a concentrated group, such as beer wholesalers, whereas the losers—consumers, usually—are diffuse.

Economists call this legitimate racket “regulatory capture.” When a regulatory scheme is transformed into a competition-stifling tool of the ostensibly regulated industry, that industry has “captured” the regulations. Regulatory capture in turn encourages rent-seeking behavior.

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FastEddy23 May 20, 2015 at 9:40 pm

Instead of raising the taxes on gasoline, Those Fools should try to raise the taxes on booze (again).

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