North Carolina is home to a thriving and growing wine industry. Consumers support the industry every time they buy a bottle of North Carolina wine.
But did you also know that state taxpayers are forced to support the industry?
The North Carolina Wine and Grape Growers Council is housed in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and its primary purpose is to market the NC wine industry to boost sales. The Council also lends assistance to research into winemaking techniques.
The Council has been subsidized by taxpayers since its inception in 1986. In recent years, annual taxpayer appropriations have totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars, peaking at nearly $1 million per year last decade. Appropriations have hovered at about half a million dollars per year the last few years.
Wouldn’t every business and industry like some free advertising? Why must taxpayers subsidize the promotion of any private industry? How is it fair that NC’s wine industry receives this politically preferential treatment while others do not?
Forcing taxpayers to subsidize the marketing by a specific industry is a form of corporate welfare, plain and simple. There’s no reasonable explanation that can justify such appropriations as part of the “core functions” of state government. That’s why the NC Wine and Grape Growers Council is this week’s Waste of the Week.