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I-1183: Costco trying to deregulate liquor industry

Letter by Linn D. Kangas, Vancouver on Oct. 27, 2011 at 10:27 am with 16 Comments »
October 27, 2011 10:27 am

After the defeat of Costco’s I-1100, Senate Bill 5942 privatizing the state liquor business was signed into law by our Governor in June. SB5942 estimates revenues of $300 million next year in fees paid by private parties for the 20-year lease of distribution rights along with 15 percent of liquor sales revenues annually.

Why did Costco create I-1183 to repeal SB5942, and then spend $22 million pushing I-1183?

Hidden in I-1183 are “central warehousing,” “uniform pricing” and “volume discounts.” These terms seem innocent, perhaps meaningless, to the general public. Don’t be fooled! These are critical components of the federal regulatory (3 tier) system, which Costco desperately wants dismantled to increase their profits.

Costco first failed to deregulate the liquor industry via our legislative system – our state elected officials said no.  In 2008, Costco failed via the judicial system – the Federal Court ruled against Costco’s desire to deregulate “central warehousing,” “uniform pricing” and “volume discounts” (Costco v. Hoen, 9th Circuit Court). Most recently, Costco failed via I-1100 – voters said no.

Costco wants only what is best for Costco – higher profits with disregard to societal costs. Elected officials, our judicial system and voters have all said “No!” Vote smart. Vote no on I-1183.

Leave a comment Comments → 16
  1. puyallupmutt says:

    Having spent far too many years sitting next to various executives on airplanes, you build up a mental database of the character traits who run corporations.

    By coincidence, the most arrogant of all companies nationwide have their HQs here in Washington State. Number 2 is of course Microsoft, but by far the most obnoxious winner-take-all types are from Costco.

    Costco’s attitude to business is crush crush crush at all costs. Fairness and ethics does not come into it. “We are Costco, we will dominate !”

    I ask myself one thing. Would I prefer spending 2 minutes getting a bottle from a State Liquor store, or would I prefer to fight the masses at Costco or Fred Meyer and waste 40 minutes of my life getting it and standing in line. If nothing else, it may stop the occasional drinker from buying the hard stuff through inconvenience.

    No on 1183.

  2. PumainTacoma says:

    Europeans buy alcohol at the grocery store, but Washingtonians act like it is a crime or something.

    I’m not a big fan of Costco (especially Tacoma store) in general, or buying maga size alcohol in the store, but this frenzy of paranoia and the commercials are really provoking high drama.

  3. daggercat says:

    I don’t think anyone thinks it’s a crime to sell alcohol. We just don’t see the need to sell it everywhere. And those who talk about how much cheaper it is elsewhere, go to Idaho and help yourselves. We pay a higher tax in Washington because those taxes are used to fund state programs. We could have that tax on something else, but it seems to work just fine for most of us to have that tax on alcohol. The three tier system is another thing that works for Washington State. Even if alcohol is eventually privatized, I’m confidant this system will remain in place. As it should. I’m not a huge fan of any of the commercials either. Too misleading.

  4. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Mutt- “Fairness” to competition is not how business is run. Instead of judging those executives, maybe you should have learned a thing or two on running a successful business.

    It is there duty to maximize profits for their shareholders. Period. As long as it is legal, where is your concern? Ironically they get praised on these boards time and again for the care they take in their employees. So we have a business, fair to their workers and maximizing profits.

    You sound like everything wrong with government today.

  5. daggercat says:

    I think it’s fine to maximize profits, until that maximizing does more harm than good. I firmly believe that’s what we have with this initiative. So it’s no for me on this one. By the way, I’ve agreed with some of your comments, but haven’t there been quite a few successful businesses have been brought down in the last few years because, in their haste to maximize profits, they lost sight of ethical and moral behavior? It’s such a fine line between fairness and greed. And I do believe fairness is an important component of business.

  6. AlabamaGeorge says:

    There are laws that regulate fairness in business and competition, otherwise you’d have the possibility of one source for everything.

    That’s called a monopoly and I believe that is the complaint about the state selling liquor.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  7. AlabamaGeorge says:

    Look at what lack of regulation and competition has done for us in the gasoline industry.

    I’d rather have the government have the alleged monopoly. The money comes back to the taxpayer.

  8. Peeannoplaya says:

    interesting that a Tacoma newspaper has a Vancouver reader or is this the beginning of the letter campaign

  9. daggercat says:

    The Tacoma News Tribune is an excellent source of state wide information. They actually have award winning employees. Are you surprised that someone outside Tacoma would read this paper? I don’t understand.

  10. concernedtacoma7 says:

    “I’d rather have the government have the alleged monopoly”

    Ah, the gift that keeps on giving, like Amtrak? You would love Venezuela and North Korea. Yeah, lets nationalize more industries, then the govt could distribute everything equally to everyone. No one will be evil and rich! We will all be poor, but at least it will be fair.

  11. daggercat says:

    Concerned, I’m actually starting to be concerned about you. Not every business model works, either in government or private business. But you seem to be getting way off track on this issue. The state is trying to look at how to give control of hard alcohol to the private sector, but this initiative is getting in the way of intellegent decisions on how to do that. This is a long standing model for our state. Takes time…

  12. Peeannoplaya says:

    Vancouver has a pretty good newspaper and there is another regional paper just across the river. Regardless of stand, I hate to see letter campaigns filling the newspapers

  13. daggercat says:

    Not sure I understand a letter campaign? Is that something like beerboy and others put out comments on all the initiatives even though they don’t live in this state? I really am new to putting my ideas out on political issues. And I hadn’t thought of looking at other newspapers from our state. I seem to get a huge variety of opionions from the news paper I read! I’ll have to check out some of the others. Thanks.

  14. daggercat – I am only commenting upon this initiative.

    Who are “and others”?

    I lived in Tacoma and have an affection for the state and town. I tend to not comment on local/state issue letters. This is an exception.

    I think that all government attempts to control personal behavior that does not impact others negatively are inherently wrong. I also believe that fascism should be fought at all fronts: government/corporate intermingling is the definition of fascism. And, I cannot ignore the inherent conflict of interest for one organization (the State) to benefit from the sales of an item it is supposedly supposed to regulate and control.

  15. daggercat – apparently you have a problem with tenses.

    The word “lived” is past tense. I currently live in Idaho, I used to live in Tacoma. Not sure how I can make it any more clear to you.

    You claim I have extremist views. Please explain how any of these are extreme:

    I think that all government attempts to control personal behavior that does not impact others negatively are inherently wrong.

    I also believe that fascism should be fought at all fronts: government/corporate intermingling is the definition of fascism.

    And, I cannot ignore the inherent conflict of interest for one organization (the State) to benefit from the sales of an item it is supposedly supposed to regulate and control.

  16. daggercat says:

    Sorry, beerboy, reread your post and caught the past tense. I was tired after work. So I will respond. First statement is not pertinent. Government controls alcohol because it can have a negative impact on others. That’s why we have compliance officers and drunk driving enforcment. There will be no change in government control of personal behavior with this initiative. Next 2 statements, I don’t think the term facist should be directed at our state government because they currently control sales of hard alcohol. They’ve been in the business because it was the prudent way to bring us out of prohibition. Now that times have changed, and our populace no longer wants the state to function in this manner, the state is actively looking at ways to privatize AND protect our states economic base. That includes maintaining funding for the state and making sure a significant number of tax payers are not put out of work. The problem I have with you not being a current citizen of this state, and injecting your opinions into Washington State policies, and you have interjected quite a few opinions, is that someone without skin in the game should not try to sway the opinions of those who do. I do thank you for pointing out my misreading of your last post, and thank you for answering my question about you residency. Now if you want to talk national policies, it’s on! Sincerely, Daggercat

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