LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Don't let Costco name its price for liquor business


The wording of Initiative 1183 - the "Costco Initiative" -- is intentionally complex and confusing. For instance: articles, ads and "Kirkland" brand editorials would lead you to believe the only retailers authorized to sell liquor will be stores with a minimum size of 10,000 square feet. This is false.

An existing mini-mart with a beer and wine license can call itself a grocery store by having a mere $3,000 in consumables inventory -- dodging the 10,000-square- feet requirement and become a liquor retail outlet. How many mini-marts are there in your community that meet that criteria?

I-1183's provisions increase the severity of penalties for unlawful liquor sales.

The pro-Initiative ads and editorials call this change in penalties a benefit of passing the initiative when in reality, the Washington state Legislature can increase these penalties whether the initiative is passed or not.

Some of the pro-Initiative ads and editorials just don't make sense. If you believe one ad, there will not be a significant increase in the consumption of liquor if I-1183 passes. Another ad suggests the price of liquor will decrease if I-1183 passes. And a third ad asserts the state of Washington will receive more revenue from the sale of liquor if I-1183 passes.

So I ask you: If liquor consumption stays the same and the price of liquor decreases then what increased revenue will be generated by I-1183?

I believe Washington state's liquor business is an asset owned by the citizens of Washington. The state's liquor business generates revenue, purchases and sells liquor products, creates jobs, manages overall the retailing and distribution of liquor products in the state of Washington and, finally, it makes a profit.

The state liquor franchise contributed over $370 million to Washington's general fund last year.

If the citizens of Washington want to sell their liquor concession they should do it in the same manner any good business owner would: Calculate the fair market value of the business based on earnings over a number of years with debt and hard assets valued and included in the calculation. I-1183 is nothing less than Costco naming the purchase price for our liquor interests.

Please join me in voting against the "Costco Initiative."

G. Scott Marinella


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