The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

19 February 2005

WA: Why is State Government in the Liquor Business?

Forget the somehow radical idea of actually privatising liquor sales in Washington State, under the Gregoire regime there's no such consideration.

State-run liquor stores are a throwback to another era, one Washington refuses to leave behind for modern times. Democrats crow about how the stores contribute to state coffers, but does this really end the argument?

With still-regulated, monitored private outlets, taxes would continue to be collected on items and overall businesses.

How many sales are lost to adjacent states and provinces under the current system? British Columbia has loosened up regulations recently and the world didn't come to end.

Limited Sunday sales are apparently a radical step for Washington's Dems, who employ a strange combination of puritanical socialism unknown anywhere else outside of perhaps Sweden.

(Seattle Times)

OLYMPIA — The last time you could legally buy a bottle of whiskey on a Sunday in Washington, streets were covered in wood planks and gold miners were yet to be lured to the Klondike.

That could change as soon as September, if Senate Bill 5487 and its companion House Bill 1379 make it through the state Legislature.

Lawmakers looking for new sources of money are considering doing away with the ban on Sunday liquor sales. A bill proposed in the state Senate would allow 20 of the biggest-selling state liquor stores to keep their doors open seven days a week.

The bill's advocates said the extra day of sales would bring in an estimated $5.9 million for the state in its first two years. "It is an opportunity for the state to better serve its citizens," said state Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, sponsor of the legislation in the Senate. "It also does help with our revenue situation."


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