Costco would like state’s monopoly

Regarding I-1183, Costco’s multimillion dollar support of the initiative has nothing to do with lower prices for consumers — it has all to do with generating many millions of additional dollars in increased profits.

While limiting the sale locations of liquor may, in fact, have benefits regarding the availability of liquor to minors, it has an even greater benefit to big box stores — lack of competition. Allow me to state a simple example and subsequent illustration: Currently, a gallon of milk sells for approximately $3 a gallon at a typical major grocery store; at a corner grocery store, about $2 a gallon. Without competition like this, there is absolutely no reason to expect Costco or any other similar store to reduce its retail price. This can readily be seen by simply looking at the price of gasoline at major filling stations; no matter what name is on the sign, the price is virtually identical. That’s because it is in all of seller’s interests to keep the prices at a certain level, regardless of the true cost — an indirect (though not punishable) form of price fixing — to keep profits up. I believe the same would happen with liquor prices.

I don’t necessarily like the current system, but I think the alternative being offered to voters in I-1183 will ultimately be much worse, if enacted, with no guarantee of lower prices for consumers. The only sure thing will be the resulting increase in big box store profits. Vote no on I-1183.

Dave Martson

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