Sponsor got what it paid a lot for

After only a few days, it seems obvious that Costco’s nearly sole financial support of I-1183 was based on profit, not altruism, and that those profits will be paid for by the consumer. A quick, unscientific comparison between Costco and the last, published state retail price list for several brands/types of liquor reveals the average price is higher now than previously.

This is especially true if the retailer is not Costco, and whose inability to negotiate a lower, wholesale cost ultimately means even higher retail prices to the consumer. Those who thought that getting the state out of the liquor business meant lower prices are now experiencing a rude awakening. Moreover, the newly imposed limitation requiring a 10,000-square-foot or larger facility to be able to sell booze is more about restricting competition, not reducing underage liquor sales, as was conveyed to voters prior to the election.

Beyond the increased cost to consumers, passage of I-1183, in my opinion, signifies something much more disconcerting: the ability to overwhelm voter intelligence with marketing hype during the campaign to convince voters to cast their ballots without reading the actual contents of the measure. I say this based on my belief that few, if any, consumers would knowingly vote for anything that would raise prices.

While I support the initiative process, it seems that some level of campaign finance reform should apply, in the case of large corporate or political sponsors, to minimize the “buying” of an election through unlimited marketing.

Dave Martson


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