EDITORIAL: State liquor business is a bad mix

  • Tue May 18th, 2010 8:37pm

In the next month or so, you’ll probably see petitioners in public places trying to gather enough signatures to put initiatives on the ballot.

Among those initiatives may be one to repeal state control over the sale of hard liquor. If presented with the opportunity, we strongly recommend you add your name to that list.

A measure filed earlier this month by a group led by Snohomish politico Ron Dotzauer would end the government’s involvement in liquor sales starting October 2011 and allow hard alcohol to be sold at grocery stores and convenience markets.

Liquor sales brought in $332.7 million to state coffers in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. But privatizing the liquor industry would make spirits more available and could drive up sales, in turn increasing the number of sales tax dollars brought in — not to mention the savings that could result from moving liquor store employees, their benefits and the overhead of maintaining a store off the state expenditure list.

Obviously, signing a petition doesn’t mean that the measure would pass. But it’s an idea that needs to be discussed — the state is in a budget crisis, and privatizing the liquor industry could be one way to bring up the bottom line.