Commonwealth Journal

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January 28, 2013

Could lawmakers help city with ABC issue?

(Continued)

Somerset —

Girdler has told the Commonwealth Journal that the state didn’t consider the city’s economic needs in making their decisions, or spend sufficient time discussing those specifics with Somerset officials before making the licensing decisions.
“We still come back to the same conclusion: that the state did not achieve the greatest economic growth either in dollar investment or number of jobs, or meet any of our community objectives regarding economic growth,” said Girdler last week “... We looked at additional data to see if there was any reason the state ABC might have that we didn’t have (for choosing the license applicants as they did) and we can’t come up with any logical reason for the decision they made.”
Girdler felt that Somerset — with a population of just over 11,000 as of the 2010 census but the seat and commercial hub of a county of more than 63,000, and even for surrounding counties — can reasonably support at least three or four more liquor stores. Moreover, he feels that it’s best left a matter for the free market to sort out — rather than letting government officials choose how many stores a community can have, let the ones that can survive do so, and the ones that can’t will close.
“I think we can handle three or four more (stores that sell liquor),” said Girdler, “and let the private market determine who will provide the best service.”
So would state legislators consider changing that law to put more power in the hands of the individual communities rather than Kentucky ABC?
Turner says the process for dealing with alcohol stores is already in place — and he’s in no rush to change it, even to help out a town like Somerset, which he represents.
“Let it play out,” he said. “They have a process. No matter what kind of process it is, there’s going to be somebody who’s unhappy.

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