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Giving thanks this Thanksgiving, but without a drink

Giving thanks this Thanksgiving, but without a drink

Wayne Hoffman
November 25, 2019
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November 25, 2019

From a freedom-loving perspective, there’s much to be thankful for this year. 

Idaho now has a governor, Brad Little, interested in regulatory reform and spending discipline. Lawmakers are talking about real tax relief, including reductions in property taxes and the elimination of the state sales tax on groceries. We’re likely to see several tax-reduction proposals offered in the 2020 legislative session. Hooray! 

Legislators are also working diligently to exercise Idaho college and university system oversight. For the first time ever, legislators are calling into question and holding accountable the publicly-funded leftist agenda that has been allowed to run amok on our campuses. 

Plus, state lawmakers are working at full steam to evaluate and eventually reduce state occupational licensing restrictions. Licensure is too often just government red tape that stops qualified people from securing gainful employment of their choice. 

At the local level, Boise’s path to becoming the Northwest’s next Portland or Seattle appears to be at a crossroads. The city’s out-of-control spending is now under a public microscope, for the first time in at least 15 years, and projects that previously appeared unstoppable have been derailed, including the fancy-schmancy new library and new sports stadium. A proposal to regulate short-term vacation rentals has also reached a dead end. And Boise’s long-in-the-tooth-mayor, David Bieter, previously the media’s darling, is now in a runoff election and running scared, even going so far as to launch a new government-funded podcast that *cough* has nothing to do with the election cycle underway. 

Yes, things are looking up. Enough so that one would want to, perhaps, raise a glass to celebrate all that has transpired in 2019. But, alas, Idaho is one of about a dozen states that bans the sale of liquor on Thanksgiving. As I noted last year, newcomers to Idaho are often surprised to learn that their new adopted state owns all the liquor stores and sells both hard alcohol and drink mixes to the public. If you walk into your local grocery store or convenience store looking for vodka, for example, you’re not going to find any. That’s because such products are under the control of a state vice unit known as the Liquor Division. 

Paradoxically, this state agency, charged with the promotion of temperance, also runs a website that teaches how to mix drinks and plan bangin’ parties. And though temperance is the agency's stated mission, the agency has never been good at it because liquor sales go up year after year. 

Unfortunately, this agency also, due to state law, closes liquor stores on Thanksgiving. Thus, those who don’t plan ahead aren’t able to partake of a favorite beverage while also watching the Detroit Lions lose another turkey day football game. 

Thanksgiving is also one of those days that local governments have the option of banning all alcohol sales. This is a sad relic of the Prohibition era that one would hope will eventually go away. It’s not immediately obvious why it is in the state’s or cities’ interest to prohibit adults from buying drinks [adult beverages] on holidays.

Yes, the march toward making Idaho a beacon of freedom and opportunity continues at an accelerated pace. There’s much to be thankful for, but if you’re planning to celebrate with an adult drink, you’ll need to stock up on the beverages ahead of the holiday. For those so inclined, plan accordingly!

Idaho Freedom Foundation
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