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Washington Initiative 1183, liquor privatization, celebrates one year anniversary

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May 31, 2013


By Ballot Measures Staff

OLYMPIA, Washington: Approved by 59%, Initiative 1183 will be celebrating it's one year anniversary in June.

The law took effect in June 2012 and was approved by voters in November 2011. It called for closing state liquor stores and allowing state licensing of private parties.

Initially, prices increased after privatization but are expected to fall back down. The average price rose about 7% from March 2012 to March 2013. Tax revenue has also spiked. Washington state officials expect to collect 37% more in taxes and fees in the current fiscal year than 2012.[1]

This fiscal year's anticipated revenue of $425 million includes some onetime gains. FY2014's estimated haul is $369 million. By contrast, the final year of state control brought in $309 million.[2]

According to recent reports, 2013 fiscal year's anticipated revenue is $425 million. This includes some onetime gains. Future revenue estimates indicate the level to be about $369 million. State controlled liquor stores generated about $300 million in revenues.[2]

The state office, in 2011, estimated that the 2011 initiative could generate an extra $42 million a year for the state and $38 million for local government over the span of six years. This totaled an estimated $480 million.[3] In 2011, proponents said the proposed measure would generate $200 million more than the current system for both state and local governments in the measure's first two years of enactment.[4]

The ballot summary, according to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State, read:

This measure would close state liquor stores and sell their assets including the liquor distribution center. The state would license private parties to distribute spirits and to sell spirits in retail stores meeting certain criteria, subject to specified training and compliance requirements. The measure establishes licensing fees for sale and distribution of spirits based on the licensee’s sales revenues. It would change some wine distribution laws and allow non-uniform wholesale pricing for wine and spirits.

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