Thursday, February 17, 2011

JMO - The Voters Said NO

This last election the voters rejected two initiatives to privatize the sale of hard liquor instead of the current law allowing the sale of beer, wine and low alcohol drinks anywhere and restricting the sale of "hard" liquor to state run or state contracted stores. The public feels this is fair and reasonable.

The two initiiatives, one sponsored by Costco would discontinue the state run stores and allow the sale of any liquor at store currently selling beer and wine and also allow retailers to buy liquor direct from the producers eliminating the wholesaler, and one sponsored by distributers is similar to the first for the sale of all liquor but requires all liquor to be distrubed by wholesalers.

Both were defeated, the first narrowly and the second resoundingly. But that hasn't stopped either but more so Costco from working with the state legislature to circumvent the voters and pass a law to do what the voters rejected. A corporation wants to decide what the voters have and should continue to decide, for ourselves.

What Costco wants to do is control all liquor in our state. They are the largest retailer of wine, beer and other alcohol drinks and they want to be the same for hard liquor. That's not what we, the voters, want and decided. Both initiatives and now any bill in the legislature would do more than what Costco is telling folks.

The initiatives would allow the unrestricted sale of liquor anywhere in the state and any time. If your store can stock it, you can sell it, all the time, including late, especially after bars close, and Sundays. And we know sellers aren't as dilligent for checking the id of customers. And you can bet they'll bitch when the state begins checking them, calling it government intrusion.

Right now the state has that responsibility and records show, comparing retailers sellling beer and wine with state liquor stores, the state stores are far better preventing the underage from buying liquor. And we know there is another issue at stake, and that's jobs.

We know if the state gets out of the liquor business, they will have to layoff hundreds of state and contract workers. We know the store won't hire more people for the liquor sales, but put the work on existing staff. We know if the Costco law gets passed, it will hurt distributers as retailers can buy their liquor from the producers.

I voted against both initiatives and the state legislature should reject any lobbying by retailers or distributers. The word no is no. If Costco wants the change, put it to the voters.

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