Monday, August 30, 2010

To Privatize Liquor Or Not

Well I am going to hit the ground running and decided that I wanted to discuss the two initiatives that are going to be on the November ballot to privatize liquor.  Both of these initiatives will get the state out of the liquor business.

A bit of background on me, I am currently an employee of the WSLCB (Washington State Liquor Control Board) and with privatization it will basically end my job.  I have been working in a state ran store now for almost two years and tell you its a lot different than any other job that I have had.

First I would like to dispel any rumors that we get paid big bucks.  I work anywhere between 20 and 25 hours a week at 13 dollars an hour.  I know 13 an hour is a fair wage but even at full time I wouldn't even break 35K a year and with a family of five that's not a lot of money.  PERS is a joke and I had no choice in the matter and would rather have the 5% they take out of my check.  The only truly benefit is the medical insurance, which I do pay a premium each payday. My main reason for taking this job was for the insurance so that I had affordable coverage for me and my three kids. Also others have said that as a public employee I am exempt from paying taxes and that is far from the truth, I have all the usual deductions. 

With that said, let's talk about these initiatives.  There are two, I-1100 which is backed by Costco and I-1105 that is backed by a couple of big distributors.  Both put the the LCB out of the liquor business and put the distribution and retail aspect in the private sector.  Both repeal all taxes used for social programs.

Key Points


Total deregulation of the three-tier pricing

Will make Washington the first state to have absolutely no regulations or rules

Retailers will have to purchase their inventory from a distributor

A distributor has to have an established principal office and agents with in the state to qualify for a distributor's license


Keeps some of the pricing control but repeals all taxes and markups

Makes it difficult for local and 'mom & pop' businesses to get a retailers license by having to put a 'down payment' in the general fund

The LCB has to set a new tax structure but must get approval from congress

I am not against privatization but feel that both of these initiatives were written to benefit either big box retailers or distributors.  We need to have an initiative that will not only keep the consumer in mind but also the welfare of the state of Washington.  I encourage everyone to read the initiatives and do some research before they vote.

So I invite everyone to join in the discussion and have a great debate.  All who have something meaningful and substantial to say, you are more than welcome.