Washington State Initiatives 1100 and 1105: PrivatizationOn the surface, the passage of I-1100 and I-1105 look very simple – getting the state out of the retail liquor business. But, as with most everything involving politics, there are a lot of hidden and often not discussed issues that have far reaching affects.
We at Walter Dacon Wines are worried about the effect these initiatives will have on our small business. There are three issues in I-1100 that bother us:
It allows wine, beer and spirits to be sold on credit e.g. 30, 60, 90 days. Currently, alcohol sales are paid for on delivery. For a small business like ours, cash flow is paramount. Further, if a retailer goes out of business without paying, it would be devastating.
It allows retailers to charge for shelf space (currently not allowed) and sets up a "pay to play" scenario. For example, restaurants would be allowed to charge a winery the cost to reprint their wine list in exchange for listing that winery's wines. It also allows gifts of substance e.g. "I'll buy X cases of your wine if you will give me Y cases as a gift. Currently, only small gifts of little value like coasters and t-shirts are allowed.
It allows volume discounts which will give the largest in-state, out of state and out of country wineries with millions of cases to sell, an advantage over small local producers.
I-1105 is the wholesale distributor's counter to I-1100 and requires all spirits sales go through a wholesale liquor distributor. Unlike Washington retailer's ability to deal directly with wine producers, spirits producers would be required to work within a three-tier system which would separate manufacturing, distributing and retailing and not allow any reciprocal interests. I-1105 is less onerous in that, while also privatizing the sale of liquor, it keeps most of the existing alcohol regulations in place. I-1105 repeals all liquor taxes and directs the legislature to make up the difference with new taxes. The state Office of Financial Management estimates the total revenue loss to the state general fund to be between $128 and $136 million per year.
Think it through, but please ask yourself whether lower prices and easier access to alcohol is worth the guaranteed financial loss to the state, cities and counties not to mention the potential harm to small wineries.
We're voting NO on both I-1100 and I-1105!
If the goal is to close state liquor stores and allow for privatization, then let's work with our elected officials to reach this end goal.
Lloyd & Ann Anderson
50 SE Skookum Inlet Rd
Shelton WA 98584