Your Views: Editorial on liquor licenses ignores alcohol realities

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I disagree with your editorial in Sunday's paper about increasing the number of liquor outlets in Janesville. Beyond the repugnant thought that drunks are going to buy liquor somewhere, and the unproven claim that dividing the Janesville liquor market into smaller pieces will somehow provide economic growth, your arguments seem to be made in order to convince yourselves of their worth.

You say more licenses won't mean more alcoholism or more teen drinking, yet you think splitting the current, finite market into smaller pieces will somehow result in “economic development” and increased sales for merchants. Dividing the market doesn't grow the market, but increasing the number of outlets does make access easier.

You find it hard to believe that kids get their alcohol from Class A sellers, yet study after study shows that making alcohol more available results in higher rates of underage drinking. A 36 percent jump in licenses may not equate to a similar one-third jump in teen drinking, but you will see the effects in your high schools and in your middle schools. That's not alarmism. That's fact.

Your last argument is that Janesville is doing something right that is keeping your teen drinking rates lower. Limiting underage access by requiring separate doors is a big factor in that success. What's truly hard to believe is that you are willing to dismantle that for the undocumented economic benefits of splitting the liquor market into smaller splinters that make enforcement even harder.



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