Inside Opinion

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Tag: liquor privatization


Stick with I-1183’s voter-approved liquor fees

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Retailers who hope to make money by selling alcohol to Washington residents once the state gets out of liquor sales June 1 now are trying to change the rules of the game that led to privatization.

Initiative 1183, which was approved in November, succeeded where similar privatization efforts failed because of the way it was sold to voters. It reassured them – complete with fatherly testimonials by police and firefighters –  that local public safety would be held harmless if I-1183 passed.

In fact, due to extra fees liquor retailers would pay under provisions of I-1183, local governments would get millions of dollars more than they were getting under state control of liquor. That extra money would help pay the cost of enforcing the effects of liquor sales at so many new outlets across the state. Read more »


We’re better off without I-1183’s liquor privatization

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

A year ago, the editorial board of The News Tribune endorsed a measure that would have privatized the sale of liquor in Washington. We all make mistakes.

We endorsed last year’s Initiative 1100 because it was clearly better than a competing privatization scheme, Initiative 1105. By a split decision, we also concluded that selling liquor simply wasn’t a core function of state government.

That was philosophy. We’ve since been swayed by practical reality. The reality is that dramatically expanding access to distilled spirits – which this year’s Initiative 1183 would do – is bound to have social costs that outweigh the benefits of privatization.

We’re also not enamored by the spectacle of a single company, Costco, attempting to purchase an election and buy a state policy that would pump untold millions into its bottom line.

I-1183 is tailored to favor large-volume buyers of wholesale whiskey, rum, etc. The initiative’s value to Costco – one of the kings of volume purchasing – is such that the company has so far invested more than $22 million in the campaign to pass it. This constitutes nearly all of the money behind I-1183.
Read more »