We received a reader question recently asking if we could find out how Initiative 1183, which would privatize state liquor sales, would affect the City of Edmonds, given that the city now receives revenue from the state-owned liquor store in the Westgate area.
Mike Doubleday, the city’s lobbyist, said he believes that Edmonds will see increased revenue from liquor sales if 1183 passes. “At least that is the intent of the initiative,” Doubleday said. He also provided a copy of the Association of Washington Cities fact sheet on the initiative, which we’ve attached here.
“The fiscal impact cannot be precisely estimated because the private market will determine bottle cost and markup for spirits,” the fact sheet noted. “Using a range of assumptions, total State General Fund revenues increase an estimated $216 million to $253 million and total local revenues increase an estimated $186 million to $227 million, after Liquor Control Board one-time and ongoing expenses, over six fiscal years.”
To recap, Initiative 1183 would close state liquor stores; allow state licensing of privately owned stores to sell liquor. In response to concerns expressed about a similar 2010 ballot initiative that failed, liquor could not be sold at small “mini-mart”-type stores that minors might more easily be able to access; all stores licensed would be required to have at least 10,000 square feet of retail space to sell and distribute liquor. And in response to worries that the previous proposal would have cut millions of dollars from state revenue, the initiative calls for a 17 percent fee from retailers on all liquor sales, as well as other fees from distributors. (In fiscal 2010, the state of Washington received an estimated $302 million from selling liquor.)
For more information on the pros and cons of the measure, here are some resources: