Thursday, February 26, 2009

An Open Letter to My State Senator

Senator Valentine,

You can imagine my shock, disbelief and utter dismay when I read in the paper this morning your proposed legislation for liquor laws in the State. 10 foot walls and redefining intoxication? I had to check the date on my paper twice. You see, the prohibitive temperance movement was officially over almost a hundred years ago and I thought the newspaper was perhaps printing historical reports.


It was true. My representative in the State Senate, John Valentine (you, sir), proposed legislation that would require restaurants to pour alcoholic drinks behind 10 foot walls and make it illegal for someone to show any signs of being drunk, effectively eliminating casual drinking and the Utah restaurant industry.

As your constituent, I would hope that you do everything that is required to kill this backward looking and damaging legislation to the people of Utah and, more importantly, the people of Orem whom you represent.

As a State Legislator, I have to assume you know that the State of Utah depends on the sale of alcoholic beverages for almost $100 million dollars in revenue that funds our state budget and other special earmarks for things like school lunches. This doesn’t take into account the hundreds (if not thousands) of people on state payroll who depend on the (mostly)free flow of liquor for their livelihood. Further restricting access to alcoholic beverages would obviously reduce the amount of revenue our great State could depend on in an already stressed economy, but also increase the unemployment rate and lead to all kinds of excess crimes from otherwise law-abiding citizens importing alcohol from neighboring Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado.

Add to that all of the dwindling profits from restaurants that serve drinks with food (in Orem alone!) and you have unemployment rates increasing in that direction as well as a decrease in Local and State tax revenue.

It seems to me that you’re probably not a stupid man and understand the ramifications of your bill and you know how damaging it would be to our State and Local economy. I assume you realize that Governor Huntsman would never sign it and your constituents (like myself) would never stand for it.

The only assumption then that I can make is that this is political grandstanding of the highest order and as your constituent I would hope that you let this bill die and support efforts to progressively liberalize the responsible consumption of alcohol for the good of our great State and community.

After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Beer is proof that God loves us.”

Bryan Young
Resident of Orem

No comments: