The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 9, 2014

Liquor by-the-drink was a success in Oklahoma

(Continued)

NORMAN —

In 1982, the number of statewide traffic fatalities was 1,070. In 1986, it was 711. Traffic fatalities haven’t been within 200 of the 1982 level since the law changed, and there were 708 last year. The total number of crashes also was down in the same period.

Drunken driving arrests also went down immediately after the law changed, from 7,858 in 1982 to 5,632 in 1985.

A lot of factors are involved in all of those statistics, but the promised spike in drunken driving clearly didn’t materialize.

People drank before the law changed. They drank afterward. And some of them drove after drinking before and after the law changed. We don’t condone that. Drunken driving is foolish, dangerous and criminal.

Lliquor-by-the-drink wasn’t about encouraging the consumption of alcohol. It was about recognizing it, regulating it and taxing it.

And that is what happened. In Fiscal Year 1986, the state received $10 million in taxes from the sale of mixed drinks. Since then, the tax rate has gone up (from 10 percent to 13.5 percent) and so have receipts $44 million in Fiscal Year 2013.

Oklahoma was one of the last states to edge away from the failed social experiment that was Prohibition.

State voters made the right choice in 1984, and more and more counties are joining the post-21st Amendment world of legal cocktails in America.

— Tulsa World

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