Get the state out of selling liquor | Andrea Keikkala
By ANDREA KEIKKALA
Kent Reporter contributor
September 30, 2011 · 10:32 AM
The Kent Chamber has taken a stand on Initiative 1183 due to input from our members who encouraged us to support the initiative.
The chamber urges you to vote yes on Initiative 1183. The initiative will get the state out of the business of distributing and selling liquor and allow liquor to be distributed and sold by private businesses that meet certain strict requirements. This will allow the state to focus on enforcing state liquor laws and regulating liquor sales.
Only eight states in the country operate and control liquor distribution and sales the way Washington state does. The state’s monopoly system was created just after prohibition and is long overdue for reform so the state can get out of the liquor business and back to providing critical government services.
Ending the state’s outdated monopoly on liquor sales and distribution will benefit both taxpayers and consumers.
Under the initiative, a limited number of grocery stores and other retail stores will be licensed to sell liquor if they meet certain requirements. Eligible stores must have 10,000 square feet or more of fully enclosed retail space or, in areas where larger stores are absent, meet other requirements set by the Liquor Control Board. The initiative prohibits liquor from being sold at gas stations and small convenience stores. I-1183 requires a retail store to demonstrate that it can effectively prevent sales of alcohol to underage minors in order to get a license to sell liquor. It increases training and compliance requirements for stores that sell liquor and toughens fines and penalties for liquor law violation. I –1183 also dedicates an additional $10 million per year to new revenue for local public safety programs, including police, fire and emergency services.
The initiative will generate an estimated $200 million more for state and local government services in the first two years than the current system. Most of the revenue gain is attributable to new distributors and retailer license fees, which are paid into the liquor revolving fund. The city of Kent received $1,107,620 in 2010 from the liquor revolving fund. If I-1183 becomes law then the estimated amount of revenue will double with an additional $1 million per year to the city of Kent.
At the Kent Chamber of Commerce, we bring the business community together in dynamic, profitable ways. Whether members are networking with one another learning marketing tips and techniques, immersing themselves in issues that impact our businesses, or tapping into an array of educational services, we give local business owners the tools to help them thrive.
The Kent Chamber of Commerce represents 457 businesses with over 26,000 employees. We have an active Government Affairs committee, which develops the chamber's legislative agenda. The committee is comprised of small business, corporate members and municipal leaders from Kent and around the region. The committee evaluates local, regional and state issues that affect the business climate and quality of life (including initiatives and referenda). After extensive evaluation on issues the committee makes recommendations to the Board of Directors regarding the chamber's position on issues. We invite all Kent Chamber members to be a part of the Government Affairs Committee and to bring forward issues of importance to the business community.
We urge you to vote yes on Initiative 1183.
Andrea Keikkala is the executive director of the Kent Chamber of Commerce.Contact Kent Reporter contributor Andrea Keikkala at email@example.com or (253) 854-1770 ext. 140.