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.

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Liquor Control Board Executive Openly Opposes Initiative 1100 – Citizen Files Ethics Complaint

Could we see all 3 in your corner store? The Liquor Control Board hopes not.

The Initiative 1100 battle is still running hot and heavy. The animus shown by both parties, for each other, is thick. We have discussed it a few times, here on our blog.

Recently, the Liquor Control Board (LCB) has been vocal about its disdain for the proposed Initiative.  The Washington Wine Institute hosted Washington Liquor Control Board Deputy Director, Rick Garza, at a panel meeting in Woodinville, last month. The purpose of the panel was to show the public why most of the local beverage industry opposes the Initiative. The Washington Brewers Guild was also present, echoing the Wine Institute’s call. (You can listen to Garza’s presentation by following this link over at SoundPolitics.com)

Apparently, one concerned citizen is upset about the LCB’s public presence. A local Seattle man (and writer for SoundPolitics.com) has filed a Complaint with the State of Washington Executive Ethics Board against Garza, alleging that the LCB executive is illegally using public resources and misleading the public with false information.

If you are interested in the Complaint, you can find a brief summary by clicking on this link, and you can read the entire Complaint by following this link. The LCB’s position has been laid out in a series of slides that can be read by following this link.

This blog takes no position with regard to the Complaint. Furthermore, we have no supporting information which makes us believe that the LCB is misleading the public.

It is, however, apparent that the LCB is openly involved in the “Vote No” movement. Recent materials illustrate that they believe  the passing of Initiative 1100 will cost millions, necessitating a dip into the State’s general fund to meet LCB budget requirements.

Of course, the war of words will only gain steam as we approach November. Feel free to leave comments below if you have something to add to the discussion.

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