Thursday, January 19, 2017

Whining over wine

State Representative Charles Busby wants to make it legal for wine connoisseurs to order wine online and have it shipped to their home.  Since this is Mississippi, there is some opposition to this bill.   However, it might be a good idea to first take a look at HB #545. The relevant parts of the bill are:


(Section 10) (w)  Direct wine shipper's permit..............$  100.00..

(Section 11)(3) There is levied and assessed upon the holder of a direct wine shipper's permit, a tax in the amount of thirty-four percent (34%) of the sales price of each sale and shipment of wine made to a resident in this state. The holder of a direct wine shipper's permit shall file a monthly report with the department along with a copy of the invoice for each sale and shipment of wine and remit any taxes due; however, no report shall be required for months in which no sales or shipments were made into this state. The report, together with copies of the invoices and the payment of all taxes, shall be filed with the department not later than the twentieth day of the month following the month in which the shipment was made. Permittees who fail to timely file and pay taxes as required by this subsection shall pay a late fee in the amount of Fifty Dollars ($50.00), in addition to any other penalty authorized by this article...

(Section 13) (3) All taxes levied under Section 27-71-7(3) and received by the department under this article shall be paid into the General Fund, except for an amount equivalent to the three percent (3%) levied under Section 27-71-7(2), which shall be paid into the special fund in the State Treasury designated as the "Mental Health Programs Fund" as required by law....

SECTION 14. Section 67-1-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
67-1-41. (1) The * * * Department of Revenue is hereby created a wholesale distributor and seller of alcoholic beverages, not including malt liquors, within the State of Mississippi. It is granted the sole right to import and sell intoxicating liquors at wholesale within the state, and no person who is granted the right to sell, distribute or receive intoxicating liquors at retail shall purchase any intoxicating liquors from any source other than the * * * department except as authorized in subsections (4) and (9) of this section and Sections 1 through 9 of this act...

(Section 15) The holder of a direct wine shipper's permit may sell wines directly to residents in this state as authorized by Sections 1 through 9 of this act....

(Section 16)(q) Direct wine shipper's permit. A direct shipper's permit shall authorize the holder to sell and ship a limited amount of wine directly to residents in this state in accordance with the provisions of Sections 1 through 9 of this act, without being required to transact the sale and shipment of those wines through the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the department....

The Department of Revenue told the Clarion-Ledger that it did not support the bill.  A DOR Spokeswoman said the department was concerned with shipments to dry counties, sales to minors, and sales tax collections.

Kingfish note: It is 2016 and Mississippians have used the internet to expand their horizons.  Inventory problem at times plague the ABC warehouse.  The Kingfish would like to offer a compromise on this issue that might settle the concerns of all parties.

One can understand the concerns of the ABC and other parties as they worry that minors may obtain alcohol.  Communities who voted to remain dry worry this bill may create a back door.  However, our gun laws offer a reasonable solution to this problem.

A gun buyer can purchase a gun online if he meets the legal requirements but the firearm must be shipped to the holder of an FFL license.  The license-holder usually charges a transaction or transfer fee to the buyer. The buyer has to show his ID, fill out the regular paperwork, submit to the background check, and follow all the other laws for the purchase of firearms.  The consumer gets his firearm and is not subject to a limited local selection. 

The wine and liquor stores in Mississippi are already licensed and conform to local laws as well.  There are no package stores in a dry community.  The law should be modified to allow Mississippians to order that case of brunello if it can't be obtained through the state warehouse and have it shipped to a package store of their choice.  The store can charge a transaction fee (that is between the store and customer- the free market is at work.) and the customer legally gets his desired wine.  Minors still can't purchase the wine since it will be held at the package store. The ABC gets its cut and consumer choice is expanded. Everyone should be happy.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a revenue win for Mississippi.
Those who want special bottles of wine can get them while travelling or get friends to bring them back on their travels and Mississippi loses the money.
Teens who are going to drink have found ways to do so forever. They will have fake IDs, get friends who just turned " legal" to buy it, pay an adult who looks like they need money to buy it, or sneak it out of their parent's or a friend's parent's house.
Since one needs a credit card to make online purchases and you have to wait for it to arrive, I would think this would less convenient for teens wanting to party.
"Dry" works about as well as Prohibition worked. Legislators know that, they are just trying to look " holy" to the " holier than thou".

Anonymous said...

Perfect idea...except you gut people who relied on existing laws to borrow money and live.

Better idea.

Get rid of ABC altogether in 25 years. That provides notice to all so they can exit the business.

During that time set up a scheme consistent with today's mores and needs.

Anonymous said...

One can already order online and many companies will deliver to Mississippi. Regardless of whether you make this legal in some form or fashion, buying alcohol as a minor is still illegal. If teens are going to order online, they're already doing it and injecting them into the debate isn't a valid argument against online sales.

We have to be able to tax alcohol, though, if for no other reason than to pay for the related health costs. I don't want any more money coming out of my paycheck to pay for diabetic management, liver transplants, heart failure, several types of cancer and trauma care (among other things) of the uninsured.

Maybe just tax the cheap stuff? 50% for half pints. 35% for a fifth costing less than $75.00. Then 10% after that? We could do something similar with wine. This would discourage underage drinking and drinking by the uninsured, stimulate the high end market and increase local supply of things people are currently having to order online, and it would keep our revenue stream coming.

Anonymous said...

Guessing @6:45 is that same guy who wore out the "nothing in the law can change since I relied on existing law" argument on here a year or two ago. Am I remembering that was one of the Briarwood guys? I hope I'm not casting aspersions on the innocent here, but something like that rings a bell.

As to KF's idea, that's a very reasonable way to go. The requirement for a shipper's permit needs to be scrapped or only apply to large producers, though. Small producers -- the ones with very limited production and, oftentimes, long waiting lists to buy -- are less likely to deal with the bureaucratic hassle since they just don't ship enough volume to make it worth the time to apply. Yet those are the very types of producers whose wines people want but can't [legally] get.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see the head of a state agency being so vocal in his opposition to proposed legislation. His job is to execute, the legislature's job is to legislate. Wonder why we are 50th in everything? Agency heads looking for job security fighting change for the last 100 years.

Anonymous said...

Times are changing. Why prop up an entire dinosaur business model and fight the inevitable? Scrapping the current model brings greater variety and choice and better prices.

State government didn't step in and save Blockbuster from market forces. Why prop up whisky outlets? The difference is that the state is getting a 35% tax from the whisky outlets it is protecting. Can you say USSR?

Anonymous said...

A lot of consumers that support this simply want greater variety. How about just channel the mail order wines through the outlets or through ABC so the tax can be applied?

I don't need some government lackey picking my wines.

Anonymous said...

I'd say 90% of this state lives less than an hour from one of our bordering states. So anybody with a real love of wine and that drives any amount beyond their neighborhood once a month is probably already getting a case of what they need from a neighboring state. And paying a tax in that neighboring state.

Ever wonder if our neighboring states send Christmas cards to Mississippi legislators? No telling how much money has flowed across the borders over the years thanks to our legislators protecting us from the devil.

Anonymous said...

Wines and liquor should be marketed and available like other products, except to minors of course. Why should the state be in the business. Just tax it at the point of sale.

Anonymous said...

I will continue to drive up to the old seedy building, toot the horn and watch the wooden door slide open. Holler my wishes and put money in the window and get my sack and move on. We don't need no more damm laws up in here. And we don't need no damm ABC no more neither. More boo-row-krat bull-hockey.

Anonymous said...

Perfect Mississippi quote from the DOR commissioner: "We're going to take care of our old friends". I certainly hope he gave that line while wearing a seersucker suit, sitting in a rocking chair, and drinking sweet tea. That should be a warning sign when our officials are comfortable making comments like this to the media. Truth is, there aren't supposed to be any "friends" of government, everyone is supposed to get a fair shake.

All these politicians recite "free market. free market", until it affects some of their old friends; then we have to be "careful"... The wine in grocery stores bill is a perfect example. When I was a kid was it much easier to buy underage at a mom and pop shop, vs a well lit grocery store. I assume it still is.

Anonymous said...

@8:21
I like to drink alcohol on occasion, but I also eat healthy and exercise, and am in very good shape. I haven't been to a Dr. in over 10 years. I also see plenty of obese people that don't drink at all and are in terrible health.

Maybe we should have higher taxes on mac & cheese, fried chicken, pizza, etc.? To use your own words, "I don't want any more money coming out of my paycheck to pay for diabetic management, liver transplants, heart failure, several types of cancer and trauma care (among other things) of the uninsured."

Anonymous said...

Herb wants to continue the legacy of Morgan - getting free liquor. Just ask Morgan about his "pappy van winkle" bourbon that he got every year. And don't forget about the hunting trips around the world paid for by the liquor companies. Look at Herb's facebook page and see where he's been since being named commissioner! And don't forget Phil -his pal Deviney takes care of him and his bucks!

Anonymous said...

I've heard of socialized medicine, but in this case we are talking about socialized liquor distribution. I didn't realize republicans like Frierson and our state leadership were in favor of socialist programs like this. Irony or all ironies I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Our state GOP believes in free markets about like it believes in reducing government waste. The GOP has run the state for about 20 years and won't fix anything, it just keeps saying we've got to reduce waste. How many more decades can they fall back on that line when they are the ones in charge? Why is there still waste? And why do we still have socialist rules limiting competition?

Anonymous said...

I've been buying wine and spirits online and having them shipped to my house for years and had no clue it was illegal.

Anonymous said...

The tax seems a little high to me. Ms. is full of bible thumpers. It is sort of funny, they may be religious but they can be bought. For enough money they will legalize anything.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mississippi can send a delegation to some of the more modern 21st century states and come back with some ideas for legislative revision, like cannabis reform. Or we can continue to slash budgets and complain about tax revenues. Hell even Feel is talking lottery.

Anonymous said...

Note in the clarion liar article where they list how much money is generated by the ABC warehouse in ADDITION to the taxes. The taxes on wine and liquor are $47.7 million. Then the state makes a net operating profit of $59.4 million. This is AFTER all expenses are paid. $59.4 million. That amount is generated because of the markup on the wine/liquor. In other words, businesses and the end-consumer (i.e. taxpayers) are paying higher taxes because of the state. Call it what you will, but when the government makes $59.4 million dollars off the backs of its citizenry that is higher taxes. I wonder if all those who claim to be "true conservatives" will vote for this bill in an effort to "lower taxes" for the citizens and get "big government" out of my personal life. Highly unlikely, because they want to take care of their old friends.

And don't argue that the state is in a budget crisis and needs that $100M in taxes and "profit" in the general fund. The taxes would still be collected on the sale over the internet or direct from the winery, and the "profit" (additional tax) could be recouped from the vendor as suggested by KF's proposed fix for point of delivery to the consumer.

Anonymous said...

What exactly are the expenses of the ABC? I bet it's a payroll full of GOP nieces and nephews.

Anonymous said...

10:58 nailed it. Why else would a bunch of conservatives be so defensive about a socialist program? Would love to see the employee list.

Anonymous said...

The DOR guy saying that he's looking out for his "friends" sounds corrupt as hell.

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Someone should offer the Kingfish amendment to this bill.

Anonymous said...

Who would have ever thought that we would have an obvious socialized government program sponsored by the State right under the noses of Phil, Tate, and Phillip. What say you state conservative leadership? Shall we refer to you as semi-conservative and semi-socialsit?

Anonymous said...

About damn time people start waking up to the States Bootlegger better known as ABC

Not only does ABC markup the liquor 30% to 40% - the state still taxes you on the liquor purchase @ 7%.

ABC needs to be eliminated, they need to make all counties wet counties and they need to allow liquor sales on Sundays.

It doesn't make sense that Louisiana and Florida allow Sunday sales and Mississippi doesn't.

If we eliminated ABC, allow independent distributors - that's pro-business and beneficial to the consumer. When the consumer is happy, they will level off in revenues.

They should also allow grocery stores to sell liquor and wines, like the rest of the contiguous states

Anonymous said...

10:18 --

No. The GOP didn't take control of the legislature until the 2011 election.

That's six years. Not 20.

Anonymous said...

Oooooo. Ok, six years and still complaining about waste and inefficiency.

Anonymous said...

Phillip's lackey(s) are staying away from their usual defensive comments on this issue. Wonder why?

Anonymous said...

Typical of our new normal GOP legislature. And they wonder why young people aren't moving back to our state. We are stuck in the 1940s and can't get out of our own way. I appreciate these new guys like Busby and others but it's time to drain the swamp of the Frierson's of the High Street crowd.

Anonymous said...

Does Frierson have to report the hunting trips these liquor store guys take him on?

Anonymous said...

8:32 AM

Yes, I am the guy who said that if you borrow 3 million dollars based on existing law the law ought to stay the same....or I should be given enough time to alter my business plan to exit the business.

If you think that is silly, that's your opinion.

In the law we call it something quite different.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 3:22, we call it socialism.

Anonymous said...

3:39 pm

Yes business planning and responsible legislating is socialism.

When you get home tonight and want to kill your self....don't be bashful.

Anonymous said...

Should make the Baptists happy!

Anonymous said...

2 things:

1. 12:08 the state markup is 27.5 percent with 3 percent of that directed to alcohol abuse programs

2. Kingfish your solution is a great idea and is already in place. A customer can have the local package store special order any product that a winery or distiller will ship to MS. The product goes through the warehouse and is shipped to the store and then sold to the customer. All taxes are paid and the customer gets his product.

Things are not as bad as some exspouse.

Anonymous said...


I don't know why 6:45 am thinks he'd have to " exit the business" if ABC ceased to exist. There were local liquor stores before prohibition as well as neighborhood bars who bought from the local liquor stores.
You sell a product where convenience matters. You'd make more money not less to remove as many middle men between you and your supplier as you can.
You should know your customers and be able to get the wines they want without jumping through bureaucratic hoops.
The types of wine being discussed are not wines served at large gatherings and not produced in large quantities.
There are wine shops even in states that sell wine in groceries. You might want to look at those business models if you become concerned about paying back your business loans.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:59pm

"Things are not as bad as some exspouse.(sic)"

Herb Frierson is that you?

Anonymous said...

Herb does not have to report the hunting trips or the samples of liquor received. After all, Herb is trying to make sure we have right wines and liquor in the package stores! Thanks Herb for looking out for your friends. What's the old saying-with friends like Herb, who needs enemies!

Anonymous said...

This is simply a matter of personal freedom. That is a term that Republicans are allergic to. They want to regulate how you use your hands and what to do with your genitals.

Anonymous said...

If ABC is such a great idea, why not create agencies/warehouses for beer, soft drinks, milk, bottled water, etc. Each could have its own version of ABC. Then we could also provide government protection those businesses that sell these items.

Madison Gump said...

I'm fairly slow, I've been told, but is it being suggested that Frierson is corrupt?

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