Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Re: Hands off my beer

The Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) has reconsidered its requirement that local brewers use locally-grown ingredients. While this is a welcomed step, the episode raises an interesting (read: disappointing) question about how policy is made in Commonwealth.

The ABCC stated that it:
endeavors to support and enhance the agricultural community, ensure the long-term viability of agriculture, and support farms that protect the common good in many ways including maintaining open spaces in communities.
These are honorable goals; supporting a local industry is always nice, and who would not like more open space? But at what cost? This issue is not presented, or so it seems, even considered.

-How much forest land will have to be converted to farm land to grow all these ingredients?
-Is this the most efficient use of this land?
-Would participating in trade with other states allow state farmers to produce a more valuable crop?
-What are the costs to other industries? ie forestry, craft brewing or other types of farmers.
-What is the revenue effect?

There is not an indication that any of these costs were considered. When only the benefits are considered, and touted, incomplete, and often incorrect, policies are proposed.

We encourage that any policy proposal have a thorough and complete Cost Benefit Analysis preformed. I find it troubling that red tape of this sort is implemented without considering the costs.

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