Here We Go Again: New Liquor Initiative Filed in Washington

Liquor laws are getting another look in 2011

Just four months ago, Washington voters showed up at the polls and struck down two similar measures that would have privatized liquor sales in the state of Washington. Ready to give it another go?  A new initiative was filed last week.

The new initiative will probably look a lot like Initiative 1100, which failed to pass last November. Why? The author of the new initiative, is the author of the old – Stefan Sharkansky.

According to various news reports, the new initiative seeks to correct some of the easily-attacked items in Initiative 1100. For instance, the new initiative will restrict licensing to businesses who have shown clear compliance with liquor laws, in the past. Furthermore, Sharkansky is not asking to change the current markup (which provided $370 Million to the state in 2010), by having retailers collect the taxes and pay it to the state.

It also appears that this new initiative is more thought out, putting transition procedures in place that better manage the states “hand-off” to the private sector.

From BusinessWeek:

…..conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky says his new proposal would maintain tax revenue and impose tighter control on private liquor sales……

Sharkansky’s initiative would only allow stores with a 5-year record of no public safety violations to sell liquor, seeking to allay last year’s fears of minors gaining easier access to alcohol.

Private retailers would collect liquor sales tax at the current level, so the state would still receive revenue to continue public service programs.

According to the Seattle PI, the initiative must garner at least 241,153 valid Washington signatures by July 8 to make it on the ballot. Much more on this once we get a read of the proposed language.



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