Jan 25, 2015 02:12am
A staff writer's take on Initiative 1183
December 5, 2011 - 11:18am


liquor store

1183… It’s a number that we’ve heard quite a bit lately, through media sources, the news, by word of mouth and the very print you see before you.


Initiative 1183 entails that in the state of Washington, liquor will no longer be sold at your local liquor store. It will be sold in grocery stores throughout the state.

Costco mostly led the campaign, investing in over 22.7 million dollars in voters to ensure that alcohol would be privatized. The bill was passed and the results were staggering: 60 percent of people voted yes, and over 900 working men and women are about to lose their jobs.


But are we as Washingtonians considered “a bit behind schedule”? California’s I-1183 has been in effect for a number of years. The prices are cheap and the tax is low.


Mark Brown argues: “At a grocery store in California, a bottle of Smirnoff vodka costs anywhere from $13 to $15. In Washington, I’ll purchase the same bottle for $23.95.”


Arguably the prices are going to be cheaper since California has already been privatized, but in a sense could we be getting a little too financially “happy” with our sales tax?


According to the outline of major taxes in Washington, the liquor liter tax in Washington is $2.44 per liter and spirits.


Seem like a lot? Nearly three more dollars just to get that fix you’re so desperately willing to consume, and suddenly your wallet has run dry. All for what, a bottle of Grey Goose that may not even last you until the morning?


The liquor and strong beer tax leaves consumers paying 20.5 percent of what they would be paying if they lived in a place such as Alabama for instance, who have a dramatically lower sales tax on liquor and spirits, and is only ten percent.


The difference is astonishing. Why is Washington State’s liquor value so high in comparison to that of other places? The reason is not very clear, and it leaves consumers wondering.


So with I-1183 in action, will we be able to smooth out some of our financial “kinks”?


The good news: in grocery stores, the overall profit of the items themselves are more important because they don’t focus on merely one item, an item such as liquor, for instance.


Producers focus merely on what the overall store and what their consumers are purchasing, not the price of any given item, so the item becomes cheaper, the customer is full, and so is their wallet.


Jason Arcese said: “They don’t focus as much on the liquor profit, as much as the overall profit.”


The prices, though still astronomically higher than that of California’s, will drop dramatically and grocery store costumers will still save money and the only thing to worry about now is the increase in teen distribution of alcohol.


Bill Shuler said: “The world is coming to an end financially; it’s a matter of money now. People will lose their jobs, teens will be unlawfully allowed access to alcohol and those numbers will travel upward faster than a speeding bullet.”


Accepting the knowledge of this, do we still think we have the chance to make it all fit together? Or will we send the abbreviation DUI to a whole new level of absurdity?


It is a broad topic that most people care to know nothing about, but if you decide that you do and that you’d like to have fun while still saving money, it may come in handy in the very near future.


All this hype about teen access to alcohol. The Washington State Liquor Control Board already admits to selling to minors. They even show pride in it. Read the following directly from the WSLCB website.


Dear Citizens of Washington:
We are pleased to present to you the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) Fiscal Year (FY)
2010 Annual Report. This report details the agency’s key activities, performance and accomplishments
between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.
Challenging and Innovative FY 2010 was both challenging for the WSLCB and also significant for its innovation and accomplishments. The state budget crisis continued to force deep budget cuts across state government. Among other cuts, this year the WSLCB closed four enforcement offices. In response, those officers now work full time in the field and use their car or home as their office.
FY 2010 Highlights
Additional information regarding the below highlights can be found throughout the report.
• Safe and Responsible Sales. State stores continued to rank among the nation’s highest for their 95 percent no-sales-to-minors compliance rate.
So if the State is ok with selling to minors 5% of the time, who are you to question?
As for the loss of 900 jobs. It is the nature of business. How many blacksmiths are left.

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