Letters to the Editor

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LIQUOR: Blame Costco, not the state

Letter by Arthur L. Snider, Tacoma on June 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm with 6 Comments »
June 4, 2012 1:25 pm

The recent letters complaining about the new liquor prices once again demonstrate the level of ignorance among the citizens of this state. Anyone pointing a finger at the  state of Washington for being “greedy” or “deceptive” obviously has no clue as how an initiative works.

The state does not and cannot write an initiative. That process is exclusively reserved for “the people.” Unfortunately big corporations such as Costco can take advantage of the process by deceiving the public through distorting the truth and outright lies. Anyone who visited Costco and questioned the signature gatherers knows they were told the prices would be significantly lower.

It amazes me that the aforementioned writers fail to put the blame where it actually belongs, which is squarely on the shoulders of Costco and nowhere else. Having themselves authored the initiative, does anyone believe Costco didn’t know what the results would be?

It’s obvious Costco didn’t care what the prices of liquor would be as long as they could sell it.


Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. alindasue says:

    “Anyone who visited Costco and questioned the signature gatherers knows they were told the prices would be significantly lower.”

    In other words, when it came time to vote, you just went by what advertisements and signature gatherers (often not supporters, but people paid to carry several petitions) said to base your decision on.

    Did you even read the initiative before voting on it?

    If you were “deceived” by the initiative, it was your own fault for not reading it. All the fees and taxes that would be added to your purchase price and specifications for the liquor sales were clearly spelled out in the initiative in plain (non-legalese) English.

    I voted for the initiative, but I wasn’t expecting prices to be lower when I did. I don’t feel deceived because I actually knew what I was voting for.

    If you didn’t… well, let that be a lesson for you next time. Read it BEFORE you vote on it.

  2. surething says:

    There was no deception over here, I knew it would be more. I am not a big booze drinker, but it is worth the extra money to buy int in a store at my own leisure, as it should be.

  3. beerBoy says:

    alindasue – since you don’t drink the costs don’t have any impact upon you and thus you have no emotional response to this.

    In Finland they have federally run ALKO stores but, unlike WA or here in ID, there were stores conveniently located as adjuncts to major grocery stores. All the non-Finns were complaining how high the liquor costs were there – except the Americans as the prices were equivalent to what we pay (and Finland is known for having very high taxes).

    State-run liquor stores (and prohibitively high taxes on liquor) are remnants of prohibition-era attempts to prevent drinking (which doesn’t work) and, in effect, replace the black market/Al Capone profiting on booze with speakeasy morals with the state profiting on booze with moralizing. Either way – it is a racket.

  4. alindasue says:


    True, it is no secret that I don’t drink alcohol. However, even if the product in question was milk or sugar (both staple products in my pantry), my reply to Mr. Snider would have been the same.

    All the taxes, fees, and other stipulations were clearly written in plain English in the initiative. Any claims of being “deceived” are only the result of the self-imposed ignorance that comes from not bothering to actually read the initiative before voting on it.

    I agree that the high taxes on liquor which, just like the state run liquor stores themselves, were remnants of prohibition-era practices and a bit of a “racket”. Unfortunately, that “racket”, just like the lotto dollars, has become a major part of our state revenue. When they tried by initiative to privatize the liquor stores the year prior, the biggest argument against that initiative was that the state would be losing liquor revenue. I-1183 addressed that concern by spelling out a series of taxes and licensing fees that would guarantee the state would not lose revenue in the transition.

    Hopefully, someday, we’ll find a solution to the state’s dependence (addiction) to “sin tax” and gambling funds, but that’s another problem for another day.

  5. beerBoy says:

    I don’t hold much hope for sensible tax reform anywhere. When it goes through initiative process I’m afraid that the result will be much like California’s Prop 13 which cut property taxes to levels that were unsustainable for maintaining basic services.

  6. alindasue says:

    I’m afraid you are right. There’s too many people who can’t tell the difference between sensibly reforming the tax system and “starve the beast”. “Starve the beast”, as demonstrated by California’s Prop 13, just makes matters worse.

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