A special commission set up to find waste in state government is considering the idea of getting the state out of the liquor business. Iowa runs the wholesale warehouse for liquor — it’s where all retailers in Iowa must buy their booze. Bob Rafferty is chairman of the Legislature’s program elimination commission. Rafferty says clearly the private sector would be happy to fill the void if the state steps out of the wholesale liquor business. He says alcohol isn’t something the state needs to make sure is plentiful in the state, and the only reason to keep state control is that it generates revenue. Iowa used to run liquor stores, but got out of direct liquor sales years ago. Rafferty says shifting liquor sales completely to the private sector would create budget consequences, as the state makes profits from its wholesale liquor warehouse. Rafferty is a former legislator who also served as former Governor Branstad’s chief of staff in the mid-1990s. The program elimination commission he now leads will make its recommendations to legislators in late November.
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