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The Boston Globe reports that the debate already has begun in Massachusetts over a ballot issue that will be voted upon this fall that would revise a 1934 law preventing supermarkets from selling wine.

“Grocery chains have already spent nearly $500,000 to collect signatures to get the initiative on the November ballot, and both sides are expected to pour millions of dollars into a fight that is shaping up as a sleeper issue in the 2006 election year,” the Globe writes. “Opponents of the initiative say issuing liquor licenses to allow supermarkets to sell wine might increase drunken driving and underage drinking and deal a severe economic blow to neighborhood liquor stores. But supporters tout the measure as a boon to consumers, who will be able to buy wine more conveniently and at lower prices.”

The Globe also reports on where some of the money backing a change in law is coming from:

• Stop & Shop/Ahold Financial Services, Carlisle, Pa. $164,995.57
• Shaw's/Albertson's, Bridgewater, Mass. $115,973.12
• Big Y Foods, Springfield, Mass. $44,038.83
• Hannaford Bros., Portland, Maine $41,316.38
• Roche Bros. Supermarkets Inc., Wellesley, Mass. $39,621.43
• Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas $24,798.39
• Price Chopper/Golub Corp., Schenectady, N.Y. $20,624.45
• Trader Joe's, Monrovia, Calif. $13,319.64
• Bozzuto's, Cheshire, Conn. $10,312.22
• Food Marketing Institute, Washington, D.C. $10,000.00
KC's View:
We’d vote for it. We think the opponents are primarily companies looking to protect their own businesses, as opposed to incidences of drunken driving.