Liquor in Washington is already privatized. Most citizens don’t follow state politics very closely and probably didn’t realize that the 2011 Legislature voted to sanction a private sector monopoly of the liquor distribution center (SB 5942). It was passed with an emergency clause and signed by the governor. As such, no referendum is allowed by law.
While expected to raise tens of millions of dollars initially, this strategy locks in a fixed profit for the state for 10 to 20 years. It has been tried in other states, such as Maine, with disastrous results.
Maine legislators didn’t anticipate the upward trend in demand for spirituous alcohol, and the state lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars, while customers paid the highest liquor prices in the region. Last month, the state issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) for companies to bid on the private monopoly. Two organizations responded. One was the company that helped write the legislation. The other is currently unknown as it is not on file with the secretary of state.
Initiative 1183 specifically mentions SB 5942 and nullifies it. It is the only option we have to put Washington on the right track. Defeating I-1183 does not mean a return to status quo; it means a long-term contract between the state and a private sector monopoly that epitomizes crony capitalism.
Make retailers and distributors compete for our business. Vote Yyes on I-1183.