Liquor Privatization May Happen Soon—But Slowly

Compromise plan would sell stores in "multi-step process."

The Patriot-News reports on the latest attempts to privatize the state liquor store system:

Any deal put forward would need to have a strong chance of success in both Republican-controlled chambers, something that hasn’t been the case in the past. A deal will likely be more complex than the grand auctions that have been proposed in the past.

“Given the concerns and the impacts this transition has on the existing liquor licensees — whether that’s restaurants, beer distributors or other people in the alcohol business — I think there’s growing a comfort with it being a more phased-out, multi-step process and it isn’t just a one swoop ‘sell the state stores’,” said House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Jefferson.

Those talks don’t even include the state’s hold on wholesale liquor sales: Officials say there is now talk about the state leasing out that business to a private operator.