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Liquor initiatives: 'Yes' on I-1100, 'No' on I-1105 | Editorial
Two initiatives on the ballot deal with state control of liquor sales. Only one of them deserves support.
As it stands now, the state is the only entity that can sell hard liquor. It does this in a relatively few state liquor stores or contract stores. Both initiatives would change this, which is good.
There's no rational reason that the state should be in the retail liquor business. That's not the case in most states and life functions just fine there.
What the state should do – and still would under both initiatives – is enforce liquor laws to prevent underage drinking.
The state also is inconsistent in that it allows the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores and other outlets everywhere. If alcohol is alcohol, then why the difference?
The reason is money. The state marks up hard liquor by 51 percent. That's in addition to imposing the highest liquor taxes in the nation.
The answer is to let private enterprise handle hard liquor sales, just as it does with been and wine. I-1100 would let retailers buy directly from manufactures.
This is where I-1100 and I-1105 differ.
I-1105 would keep the middle-men in liquor sales – the distributors – in place, along with the costs they add to the price.
Some argue that distributors help the state's small wineries get their wines in stores. In fact, many wineries – large and small – already do that. The state doesn't need an expensive distribution system to protect what amounts to a alcohol cartel. And it doesn't need to be in the retail sales of alcohol at all.
Vote "Yes" on I-1100 and "No" on I-1105.