Letters to the Editor

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LIQUOR: State will lose money under 1100

Letter by John C. Guadnola, Tacoma on Oct. 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm | 10 Comments »
October 25, 2010 3:31 pm

The editorial board got it wrong on I-1100.

The board, divided over whether privatization is a good idea and aware a dramatic increase in access to hard liquor is “a sure effect” of the initiative, endorsed I-1100 but failed to offer a plausible reason.

Whether or not liquor sales are an essential function of government, they are without doubt a profitable one, returning $330 million per year to state and local governments. The Office of Financial Management says, and the proponents of I-1100 do not dispute, that passage of I-1100 will deprive local governments of $50 million per year, money now spent on public safety, law enforcement, and other inarguably essential government functions.

Nonetheless, the editorial board wrote: “If Washington is to preserve its ability to provide essential educational and social services, it will need to pare state programs – even worthwhile ones.” In other words, the board wants to preserve the state’s ability to provide essential services by eliminating a program that helps pay for them. That makes no sense.

Clearly, the editorial board does not have a defensible rationale for its conclusion. Still, the Tribune will continue to recommend a yes vote without repeating that the board is divided and without reiterating its failed logic. That is a disservice to voters, who rely on the editorial board for thoughtful recommendations.

I can only hope voters will join me and a large coalition of nurses, law enforcement, teachers, EMTs and others in voting NO on both I-1100 and I-1105.

Guadnola is the executive director of the Washington Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association.

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