The Liquor Enforcement Bureau is targeted for elimination on June 6. This can (and should) by overturned in the part two of the budget this week.

The liquor bureau is the only law enforcement agency conducting checks of alcohol establishments and regulating the entire liquor industry in Maine, including all out-of-state companies conducting business here.

All bureau officers are specialty trained and experienced with liquor laws, qualities no others possess. Two are in Iraq, facing an uncertain future upon return.

Since February, numerous representatives of police organizations, small businesses, alcohol industry, legislators and citizens have expressed deep mistrust for this elimination plan. Not one person has said that the destruction of this much needed unit is a good idea or good public policy. Indeed, legislators and the governor have received a mass of correspondence, pleading to maintain the agency.

The governor’s chief of staff and public safety commissioner have maintained liquor enforcement’s demise is purely from lack of funding. Yet, an alcohol industry plan to increase license fees was rejected. It’s curious, as other agencies were allowed to increase fees. Other funding proposals were likewise rejected. This is baffling, particularly when funding is available.

The people of Maine have spoken loudly: they desperately want liquor enforcement intact, protecting our citizens and controlling the alcohol industry. The funding is available. What’s the problem?

How many more calls, letters, visits and meetings do the decisions makers need?

Ben E. Conant, South Paris

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.