I was astounded to read Roy Anderson's June 10 letter to the editor ("Learn from privatizing booze sales") in which he flatly states the privatization of liquor proves that certain government operations are handled more costly by the private sector. How can he reach that conclusion without any type of comparison?
Setting aside the fact that the recent changeover in spirit sales is more of a "quasi-privatized" system, in which a great deal of restrictions still apply (stores must be at least 10,000 square feet), Roy ignores the very reason spirit sales are so costly, namely because of the taxes imposed by Initiative 1183.
Taxes are a source of the public sector, so the reason prices increased so dramatically was because the government was hampering the private sector from operating efficiently. Indeed, if you ask anyone what the price of spirits looks like in stores, many are immediate to react: "They're cheap," but those price tags reflect the price before taxes.
Perhaps Roy hasn't been further south to California or Nevada. The former allows convenience stores the ability to sell hard liquor, and Nevada has some of the lowest taxes on the sale of spirits. The result is that these two states have some of the lowest prices for a good night in the entire country, much lower in comparison to Washington state prices.
We should look at the ingredients in the bottle before we attempt to judge what type of system is more cost effective.