Letters to the Editor

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I-1183: State control doesn’t equal safety

Letter by Brad Slusher, Tacoma on Oct. 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm | 53 Comments »
October 25, 2011 1:37 pm

Re: “We’re better off without I-1183’s liquor privatization” (Our View, 10-23).

Based on statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for the years 1998 and 2008, Washington State ranked 42 out of 51 (including D.C.) for the highest percent of alcohol related traffic fatalities.

Out of those 41 states with a lower percentage of alcohol related traffic fatalities, 15 have state controlled liquor and 26 don’t. There is no evidence whatsoever that state control equals lower alcohol related fatalities, nor any evidence that it reduces availability to minors.

The fact that Costco was the largest contributor to I-1183 and will profit by its passing is immaterial. The idea that availability will somehow increase consumption is also purely supposition. If there were gas stations on every corner, would gasoline consumption suddenly skyrocket?

Also, based on the source material for the CDC study quoted in the editorial, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine (Vol. 37, No.6) also states, “Direct studies of the effects of policies changing density on alcohol-related public health outcomes have not been conducted.” Once again, we have purely anecdotal evidence to support the claims that getting the state out of liquor sales will have a negative effect.

The bottom line is that if I-1183 is passed, the state is out of a business it should never have been in, retailers have access to new revenue streams, the cost to consumers goes down allowing them to stretch already tight budgets, and state revenue goes up to cover record shortfalls. Where’s the down-side again?

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