Alright...the Washington state ballot this fall has two fairly similar initiatives:
Getting to the bottom of these two initiatives actually required 'research' on my part. Oh bother...I even went to the Washington State Secretary of State website.
Similarities 1st: Both of these initiatives get the State of Washington out of the liquor sales business, and will allow private retailers to sell 'hard liquor' and 'spirits' in addition to the beer and wine they can already sell.
That is really all the similarity.
The two major difference revolve around taxes on liquor, and the approach each initiative takes to the 3-tier system of alcohol sales in Washington State.
The 3-tiers approach as it is currently used in Washington means you have an Alcohol Manufacturer, an Alcohol Distributor, and an Alcohol Retailer.
Initiative 1100 would maintain most of the taxes currently in place on alcohol, but would do away with the 3-tier system, allowing individual retailers to make deals with individual manufactures.
Initiative 1105 does away with all taxes, but instead requires retailers to pay a percentage of their profit to the State for the first 5 years, while authorizing the Legislature to pursue new taxes to make up lost revenue. It also maintains the 3-tier requirement.
The concerns most commonly heard for BOTH of these initiatives is 'Oh my God, Alcohol will sold EVERYWHERE, and the streets will run red with the blood of drunk drivers.' And teenagers will be drunk every day.
Bunk. Or true...it could happen. I don't think so though. People already drunk drive, and teenagers already drink. Hard Alcohol being at AM/PM and Safeway(where they already have beer and Boone's Farm) is not going to cause people to do things they wouldn't already do.
Compare and contrasting, the only concern about these bills that catches my eye is with 1105. The Seattle PI feel that by maintaining the 3-tier system, but taking the State out of the loop, instead will allow a huge Distributor to monopolize the alcohol industry in the state, making things hard for the growing craft and microbrew industry.
Also of concern, is what happens if BOTH of these initiatives which try to do the same thing, differently, pass. In that case, things are in the hands of the Attorney Generals office, and The Legislature. With a 2/3rds vote, they could overturn whatever parts of the initiatives they don't like.
End result, for me: Voting 'Yes' on 1100, 'NO' on 1105 will get the state out of the liquor business, but keep some of the taxes in place, and let me get my drink on with access to the widest range of alcohol choices.
Sigh...saving the easiest one for last, lets look at:
1107 goes out and repeals the 'Temporary' taxes that the state put in effect on carbonated beverages, candy, and bottled water. Might cost the State $352 Million over the next 5 years(5 years? I thought the taxes were temporary?!?!?!?)
Anyway...I vote yes.