On the "don't sell" side, there are plenty of issues that don't move me much. I don't think we should sell or not sell based on potential alcoholism. Having lived with close family who have battled the disease, I do understand why this would be controversial, but you can't set public policy based on potential addiction. In general, people on the "don't sell" side should avoid getting into the "alcohol is bad" camp, as we have to remember that it is legal for adults to consume, and prohibition was a failure. In addition, we should avoid the "union busting is bad" argument, for political reasons, as the better argument is that good paying jobs are good, and ending them in favor of lower paying ones is bad for the overall economy, which is consumer driven.
The "sell side" is full of arguments that should be banned from the public lingo for stupidity.
- Never say it's a drain on resources. It makes money, this is a lie.
- It is far from a sure thing that the state can make up the $72-90 million in revenue it has made in recent years, in fact track records say it's slightly less probable based on other states.
- You want boutique stores? Why should the public care? About 10% of the public is responsible for the overwhelming majority of sales of alcohol, so while those folks should have market input in what's for sale (because the provider should care), that's not a reason to sell. That's a reason to change the management of the PLCB, not sell the stores.
- You hate licensing? Bad news for you, regardless of who owns the stores, licensing is part of the deal, to stay. For revenue, health, and management reasons, the state has to license a lot of stuff, and most people accept that. Leave the libertarianism at the door.
This is a simple argument. Those who don't want to sell want to keep the high paying jobs, the guaranteed revenue stream, and the state asset. Those who want to sell should believe the state doesn't belong in the liquor business, and be fine with taking a one time shot of money and no future guarantees. This is all the sale vs. don't sell argument is when you boil it down. This is not about what's available to you, or purchasing rights, or unions, or whatever else you want it to be. We can work on regulations either way, though I'd argue your more likely to get regulatory change with no sale than a sale.