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June 5, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Private liquor sales begin in Washington

You got what you voted for

Hey Washington, how do you like those new lower liquor prices? [“The day liquor went private and prices stumped the public,” page one, June 2.]

Last November, voters approved an initiative to privatize the state liquor stores in hopes of new lower liquor prices and more competition. The State Office of Financial Management estimated it would collect $60-70 million more per year in liquor taxes as a result if voters approved the initiative.

Today we see the results: higher liquor prices than the state was charging, a lot less selection for the consumer and nearly 1,000 people added to the unemployment rolls. Seems the backers of the initiative were really wolves in sheeps’ clothing.

The lesson? Read any initiative on the ballot in its entirety before you vote on it. Beware of proponents of an initiative willing to spend millions of their own dollars to convince voters to support something they have a personal interest in. Voters got just what they voted for. Seems, in retrospect, government can do something right.

— Todd Holm, Port Angeles

Voters didn’t read the fine print

P.T. Barnum is oft given credit for the phrase, “There’s a sucker born every minute!” Never was this more apparent than last year’s election in which the people overruled the state monopoly on liquor.

It was sold on the idea that liquor would be more plentiful and cheaper. The reality is that while booze is certainly more accessible, the price you pay is more. Evidently, the people never read the fine print that allowed the state to sell liquor stores and rights, then add a 25 percent tax to every bottle sold! A slick sleight of hand that leaves the state “technically” out of the liquor business, but firmly reaping the benefits.

— Douglas Q. Barnett, Seattle

How about us pot smokers?

Cheers! Now that the free-enterprising alcohol drinkers in Washington have experienced the joy of being able to purchase their favorite intoxicant at any local store, perhaps they will consider allowing their pot-smoking neighbors the same dignity instead of throwing them into jail.

We can even take it a step further and give amnesty to all nonviolent inmates who are there for marijuana charges — which would not only lighten the load in prisons, it would also drastically reduce our taxes, and we could give up our dubious distinction of being the most incarcerating country on the planet.

— Jackie DeVincent, Seattle

Kids gain access, exposure

It’s June 1. — the day children and teens gain easy exposure and access to liquor in a wide variety of retail stores in Washington state. They were not allowed even to enter the former state-owned liquor stores.

We know personally of a teen recently caught trying to steal liquor from a Safeway where it was “restricted” from sale behind a translucent plastic curtain. Congratulations, Washington voters.

— Nancy Parish, Bellevue

Welcome to Romneyworld

Welcome to the world of Romney economics: the privatization of everything, beginning with booze.

If you don’t like these prices, wait until you have to pay for privatized police, fire departments, schools, not to mention health care, which we already have — all for the few at the top to get rich while the rest suffer the big lie of trickle-down, laissez-faire economics.

Competition and privatization are not more efficient and do not result in lower prices, or better products. Washington state’s experiment in privatization of liquor sales is the test case that clearly demonstrates the genius of Republicans for getting working-class Americans to vote against their own economic interest.

— Fred LaMotte, Steilacoom


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Don't you think it's a little early to be judging so harshly? I'm no economics major... MORE
I am an economic's major. These people need to visit the 34 other US states where the... MORE
Sure, currently the prices are higher, which will hopefully come down with time, or you... MORE

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