Friday, January 23, 2015

Should Liquor Sales Be Privatized? (酒业是否应该私有化?)


The provincial government is holding a liquor privatization consultation until January 30, 2015.

Public liquor sales return huge profits to Saskatchewan people — more than $252 million last year alone[i]. That’s money that can be spent on making life better for families and communities, funding schools, hospitals, long-term care homes, provincial parks, highways, and much more.
But the provincial government is putting all those benefits at risk.

Will privatization earn more profits for the SK government? The AB government attempted to increase its liquor revenues to help pay for important public services, but it had to back down to the private liquor lobby later on. $1.5 billion has been lost since privatization of the liquor stores since 1993. In SK, by just letting 4 private liquor stores open the government is already losing 7.5 million in public profits each year. If SK had copied the liquor system in AB, $65 million would have been lost last year[ii].

Will consumers be better off? 86% of wine products, 70% of beer products and 76% of spirits sold in SK public liquor stores were less expensive than private AB stores[iii].

Some people may say that privatization may increase jobs and government revenues. However, if the above data is true, government revenues may be lost due to the privatization, and jobs may not be as secure and high-paying as before.

Well, some may ask why we cannot have some liquor stores run by private businesses yet owned by the government. There are successful cases for private maangment of public enterprises. However, as liquor stores are widely scattered, they are hard to supervise. There may also be the problem of  near-sightedness in decision-making and rent-seeking.
Another thing we must note is that the Saskatchewan culture is one of a strong community, one caring for children and the senior people and the one emphasizing humanism. Though we may not ban liquor sales, we should not encourage them. Therefore, the writer is supporting SGEU regarding this issue.



私有化能为萨省政府赚取更多的利润?亚省政府试图为支付重要的公共服务而增加酒类收入,但它不得不向私人卖酒商的院外活动集团屈服。 亚省酒铺自1993年私营化以后损失了15亿美元。而在萨省,只是让四家私营酒铺营业,政府已经每年的利润要损失750万元。如果萨省沿用了亚省的酒类经营体系,则去年它将损失6500万元。




[i] SGEU. Keep Liquor Public,  
[ii] Campanella, David. A Profitable Brew, a Financial Analysis of the SLGA and its Potential Privatization.
[iii] Study by University of Saskatchewan professor Colin Boyd, 2011.

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