Forum: Liquor ruling conflicts with state law
November 26, 2012 11:08PM
Updated: December 28, 2012 6:29AM
On Oct. 31, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission ruled that Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) could continue to hold an interest in four Illinois beer distributorships, despite a 2011 law that prohibits brewers from owning such businesses. This ruling not only goes against the law, it conflicts with Illinois’ three-tier regulatory system for distributing alcohol.
Every state regulates alcohol by using some form of a three-tier regulatory system (manufacturer, distributor and retailer). Distributors are intended to be independent licensees, separating a brewer from a retailer. A brewer owning a distributorship destroys the purpose of the three-tier system.
There are also concerns about job loss. In 2008, ABI, a Belgium-based corporation, slashed costs by $1.1 billion on the backs of American workers — laying off about 1,400 people, about 6 percent of its U.S. workforce. By 2011, ABI was able to pay off a significant portion of the $54 billion it had borrowed to finance the Anheuser-Busch takeover, and 40 executives split $1.3 billion in stock-option bonuses.
The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, a non-profit trade association, represents the interests of its members who distribute the beer of all brewers to licensed retailers. ABDI members employ more than 3,300 people in Illinois. They pay $63 million each year in excise taxes to the state and more than $280 million in direct wages and health care benefits to employees.
William D. Olson
Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois
Free towns from state’s pension dictates
In a recent letter to Forum, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) strongly opposed the idea of having school districts pay for their teachers’ pensions rather than the state. The senator said, “To allow politicians in Springfield to set the benefits but send the bill to suburban property taxpayers is a recipe for disaster.”
Senator, I agree with your statement but must point out that municipal governments in Illinois are doing today what you fear school districts will be required to do tomorrow. The Legislature sets the pension benefits for police and firefighters, and municipalities pay the bills for those decisions.
Unless the state is going to pay the costs of the Legislature’s action, lawmakers should get out of the pension business. Let local governments decide their employees’ pension benefits because they must pay for the benefits.
Collective bargaining is not a fair process when a municipal budget is approved or a contract is signed, and legislators can arbitrarily increase the benefit package of our employees. If the state wants to control the police and fire pension formulas, then it should own the liability.
I look forward to Sen. Radogno leading the way in Springfield to get the state out of setting our workers’ pensions and not having to take financial responsibility for them.
Mayor of Glenwood