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(SeattlePI)   Washington state privatized the sale of hard liquor last year, believing it would drive prices down. Take a wild frickin' guess what happened. Who knew people like booze and money, and getting more money off of deregulated booze?   (seattlepi.com) divider line 46
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12062 clicks; posted to Main » on 01 Jan 2013 at 4:11 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-01-01 11:49:47 AM
7 votes:
Or course, the state made sure to add in a few extra taxes for several years to make up for no longer illegally running a monopoly after several decades.  Might want to revisit the issue in a few years once they expire.
2013-01-01 12:43:59 PM
4 votes:

LordZorch: Or course, the state made sure to add in a few extra taxes for several years to make up for no longer illegally running a monopoly after several decades.  Might want to revisit the issue in a few years once they expire.


Yeah, this.  Take the taxes off, and it is indeed less expensive.  Unfortunately, they will NEVER let that happen - the Statehouse knows people aren't going to stop buying booze.  This is a cash cow for them.
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-01-01 11:51:34 AM
4 votes:
Let me guess.  The same thing that always happens then something is privatized or deregulated?
2013-01-01 05:02:05 PM
3 votes:
Washington state resident here.  The new law was a bogus pile of crap, derped on by "free market" zealots and Coscto marketing.  The state packed the new law with more taxes then said sure, guys, we'll be happy to close our state stores.

My $50 bottles of scotch turned into $75 bottles of scotch overnight.

Everyone in the liquor industry that had studied the new law predicted this, but the idiot public that bought into Cosco's lies defended the new law, always with "less government lower taxes" mantra, without ACTUALLY STUDYING THE NEW LAW.

Results:  Less revenue because taxes are now 25% higher or so, there's another layer of taxes (Wholesale) and yes, we get private stores.  WOOP.   They can't lower prices because they are passing along all the taxes.  Costs are locked in being higher unless taxes are lowered.  And taxes won't be lowered because guess what, we already spent the revenue.  And the majority will never support lowering taxes on liquor, even though we pay the highest liquor tax in the country, by far.  We already paid the highest under the old state stores, but they managed to get it approved to even be higher now, because DUMBASS PUBLIC ASSWIT VOTERS FELL FOR IT believing the lies about the "private free market" would always be lower regardless of the rules.

I was in favor of Initiative 1100, but against 1183.  1183 was the one that made it.  Costco bought the right to sell crappy liquor in bulk, and every one of you that voted for it is an idiot that drove up my booze cost for premium scotch as a result.
2013-01-01 04:28:12 PM
3 votes:
Liquor is a luxury item, not a necessity. Deal with it.
2013-01-01 04:19:30 PM
3 votes:
I figured it wouldn't lower prices, but it certainly didn't add that much convenience. To get a pint or mini bottles you still have to schlep out to the private retailers who took over old state store locations. Sure, if you want a fifth or a handle of widely-available spirits Safeway has you covered, but at a price. Add to this the almost 1/3 higher price due to tax and big-store mark-ups and you have little to show for it.
2013-01-01 04:17:18 PM
3 votes:
You know what subby? I'll pay more for my booze, knowing the government isn't wasting money on the upkeep the stores and the land cost, and using it as an excuse to overpay basic retail and offer pensions to push a few buttons and take my money for lotto tickets. gfy.

Also true to form though, they still get all that tax money, plus what they now save not owning the stores or paying those employees...and we still need to raise taxes. So we got that going for us.
2013-01-01 12:23:34 PM
3 votes:
Nobody believed it would lower the price.  Stop acting like a victim.
2013-01-01 04:41:17 PM
2 votes:
Lived in IA when it was deregulated. Rather than rare, state-run liquor stores, we could buy vodak at 2am in a grocery store, between the bar and the after-party.


That is the upside.
2013-01-01 04:25:58 PM
2 votes:
Don't forget retail sales tax as well:

http://liq.wa.gov/stores/liquor-pricing

When the states ran the store they didn't collect sales tax and now they do. This is hardly a equal comparison. If you were to remove the additional taxes the price would in fact be below the price before privatization.
2013-01-01 04:19:51 PM
2 votes:
I can't see why I should care about liquor prices in Washington state. Or whether they are privatized.

Was this link greened so people could have a political fight over pet issues?
2013-01-01 03:56:31 PM
2 votes:

NFA: Benevolent Misanthrope: LordZorch: Or course, the state made sure to add in a few extra taxes for several years to make up for no longer illegally running a monopoly after several decades.  Might want to revisit the issue in a few years once they expire.

Yeah, this.  Take the taxes off, and it is indeed less expensive.  Unfortunately, they will NEVER let that happen - the Statehouse knows people aren't going to stop buying booze.  This is a cash cow for them

FTA- "The state's 51.9 percent mark-up went away but was replaced by fees of 10 percent on distributors and 17 percent on retailers."

51.9 - (10+17) + 10 increase = 14.9% privatization fee


Not getting your point?  Serious question, not snark.  It seems like there was a 51.9% markup, and now there's only a 27% markup?
2013-01-01 12:48:02 PM
2 votes:
Collecting taxes off marijuana sales: good.

Collecting taxes off liquor sales: omg cash cow.
2013-01-01 11:05:18 PM
1 votes:

TorqueToad: I can't see why I should care about liquor prices in Washington state. Or whether they are privatized.

Was this link greened so people could have a political fight over pet issues?


No, you see we had this meeting, it was before lunch, around 11:30 EST. Since you weren't up yet we didn't invite you.
Anyway, at this meeting we decided to green light a link to a mundane article that would really only be of interest to no one except those locally invovled and affected by it.
And though we all wished that the subject of the article wouldn't turn into a politicle fight and be squabbled over like some pet issue. We knew that in reality, this being Fark, it would come to that.
But in all fairness, without you in attendance at the meeting we were a bit unorganized in our efforts.
We tried to do a good job.
In the future, we will schedule these meetings in the afternoon so that you are able to attend.

Regards
The Staff
2013-01-01 09:44:04 PM
1 votes:

TorqueToad: I can't see why I should care about liquor prices in Washington state. Or whether they are privatized.


So then why the fark are you in the thread?  Somebody have a gun to your head?
2013-01-01 09:17:41 PM
1 votes:

FloydA: Gdalescrboz: mediablitz: vpb: Let me guess.  The same thing that always happens then something is privatized or deregulated?

No. You have that backwards. The government is ALWAYS wrong, ALWAYS inefficient, and private businesses can ALWAYS do it better.

If you worked in the gov you would already know this to be true, as myself and everyone else employed by the govt dows

That explains why foreigners avoid our public graduate schools like the plague and our army and navy always get their asses kicked.

...oh wait...


Our universities are quickly becoming obsolete as people realize they are a money hole. Our military, of which I'm in, can't be matched because other militaries are more bureaucratic than ours and receive a fraction of the funding; not because of the endless miles of red tape and wasteful spending.
2013-01-01 09:16:52 PM
1 votes:

TorqueToad: I can't see why I should care about liquor prices in Washington state. Or whether they are privatized.

Was this link greened so people could have a political fight over pet issues?


These threads exist so I can find out who on Fark lives near me.

Not sure why you're here.
2013-01-01 09:12:26 PM
1 votes:

StrikitRich: smonter: Don't forget retail sales tax as well:

http://liq.wa.gov/stores/liquor-pricing

When the states ran the store they didn't collect sales tax and now they do. This is hardly a equal comparison. If you were to remove the additional taxes the price would in fact be below the price before privatization.

Shhh, you'll confuse the dumb masses with facts.


I have a feeling that most commenting with the "OMG privatization is evil" are missing a lot of valid points for this move. I would like to see some details on how much money the government spent on the store upkeep and other factors in keeping a business like this. It's also easy to run a monopoly on something that the private sector gets heavily regulated and scrutinized for.
2013-01-01 06:41:07 PM
1 votes:
FTA: "Also, each brand is often available from only one distributor"

I hate to break the news to you government-loving socialists, but this is not the definition of "deregulated". It's just another government-supervised monopoly, aided by even higher government-mandated taxes.

Allow retailers to buy from ANYONE (not just distributors) and slash the taxes and watch the prices plummet.
2013-01-01 06:08:54 PM
1 votes:

JustGetItRight: The My Little Pony Killer: Collecting taxes off marijuana sales: good.

Collecting taxes off liquor sales: omg cash cow.

That's how farkers roll.

Just wait until pot is legalized nationwide, the price goes up like it has on tobacco, and there's absolutely no change in prison populations.

Fark may well explode.


The U.S. has over 2.3 million people behind bars. Nearly a third of all prison admissions are from non violent drug offenses. Of those about 872,720 persons were arrested for marijuana offenses. Eighty-nine percent of these arrests were for possession. So how will it not reduce prison populations?
2013-01-01 05:51:09 PM
1 votes:
Typical Seattle PI article -- the half of the truth that makes anyone except State government look bad. The fact is that in order to punish the voters for voting to take liquor sales away from the government (and their unwillingly unionized employees) the legislature raised liquor taxes not only to the very highest of any state in the U.S. -- $26.45 per gallon -- but more than twice as much as anyother states except Alabama, Virginia and Oregon. Arizona, for example, levies a $3.00 per gallon tax.
2013-01-01 05:50:42 PM
1 votes:

mediablitz: BMFPitt: mediablitz: No. You have that backwards. The government is ALWAYS wrong, ALWAYS inefficient, and private businesses can ALWAYS do it better.

I know this is an attempt at sarcasm, but outside of public safety functions and sometimes infrastructure, can you provide a single example where this is not the case?

Sigh...

Are you SERIOUSLY asking that question? SERIOUSLY? You are a true believer, aren't you? I could list a dozen examples, but I'm certain your willful ignorance overrides any need for "examples".


If you "could list a dozen examples" why didn't you provide one?
2013-01-01 05:46:27 PM
1 votes:

JSieverts: The y are considering this same bullshiat in PA...here is the issue...the PA Liquor Control Board is the single largest purchaser from every major distiller and winery...they buy in volumes no wholesaler or retailer could come close to, so, obviously, they should get the best prices. I do not claim or think that we should, therefor, have the lowest liquor prices in the country(significantly lower prices would lead towards significantly higher health issues, for instance), but we should, at the very least, have prices comparable to, and competitive with, every surrounding state's, while collecting more in taxes and such, WITHOUT hurting the end consumer. The biggest issue to me, as an end consumer, is that there is NO discounting to the restaurant and bar industry other than not paying the base sales tax (6% statewide, 7% in certain cities)...which makes liquor MORE expensive in our restaurants and bars...
One would think that, properly run, the PA LCB could be a cash cow for the state economy, WHILE being competitive pricewise with the surrounding states. Somehow, this is not happening...THAT is what needs to be fixed...and not fixed by giving a huge gift to certain croneys of the Governor.


Pa generated nearly half a billion dollars in profits from its liquor stores for FY 11-12, so I'm not sure what your definition of cash cow is. I've only lived in VA and PA, and liquor prices are about the same in those states. Wine, on the other hand, is much cheaper and the selection is better in PA from what I've seen. Admittedly the state store in my town is awesome, maybe that's not typical.
2013-01-01 05:43:06 PM
1 votes:

adenosine: It was clear that the prices were going to stay the same or go up. We passed the law to get the state out of the business of selling liquor, but the only way it could pass was to keep all the state revenue that the old system had. One visit to the Total Wine that recently opened makes me happy with my vote. A shop like that simply couldn't exist under the old laws.


Sigh. That's right, the selection expanded greatly - you can now buy a whole lot of low-end crap, while they jacked the price on the high-end stuff. The Walmarts of liquor moved in - BevMo and Total Wine - and we've now traded price for selection. What's real fun, of course, is that selection at the high end has dropped in many areas of the state, because private stores won't keep expensive products that won't move, but will happily stock cheap products that sell more quickly. It's harder to find a good selection of single malts - it used to be that, even if your local state liquor store didn't have it in stock, you could ask them to get a couple of bottles for you. Now, your local supermarket just looks at you and laughs, because why in the hell would they do that just for you? Forget that - Safeway can go back to selling cheap Essex Place gin to high-school kids all day and not miss your business one whit.

Welcome to privatization - if it won't generate a profit, well, what's the point?
2013-01-01 05:38:31 PM
1 votes:

Generation_D: I was in favor of Initiative 1100, but against 1183. 1183 was the one that made it. Costco bought the right to sell crappy liquor in bulk, and every one of you that voted for it is an idiot that drove up my booze cost for premium scotch as a result.

2013-01-01 05:37:01 PM
1 votes:
A lot of voters knew that prices would initially remain high because of the fees and taxes included in the initiative.  Some voters simply wanted the state to get out of the liquor business because they considered it a sin.  Others considered it a socialist state monopoly.  Some voters wanted increased convenience of being able to pick a bottle up from the local grocery store as opposed to making a special trip to a state store.

My big thing is that I wanted to see the specialized wine and spirit superstores open up.  They have about 5× to 10× the retail floor space as your typical WSLCB store, so their selection cannot be beat.  Costco is nice for getting 1.75L bottles of vodka, gin and tequila, but the superstores are where I like to go for my whiskey, rum, liqueurs and Everclear.
2013-01-01 05:30:11 PM
1 votes:

MrPeepersVT: American living in BC, Canada here-- in BC they have both privatized and BC government operated stores-- the BC Gov't stores are generally significantly cheaper. However they are less numerous, so private ones might be more convenient. However, EVERYTHING costs roughly double ore more what it does in WA. Average beers are around $14-$17 a 6-pack. Rare to see a cheap bottle of wine for less than $11. So, whatever, WA looks pretty damn good ot me from here!


Last time I was in Canada a case of Kokanee was ~26 or ~28 loonies for a 24 pack. That never struck me as a great deal. Then again, I can't remember if that was Whistler or Vancouver.
2013-01-01 05:26:48 PM
1 votes:
American living in BC, Canada here-- in BC they have both privatized and BC government operated stores-- the BC Gov't stores are generally significantly cheaper. However they are less numerous, so private ones might be more convenient. However, EVERYTHING costs roughly double ore more what it does in WA. Average beers are around $14-$17 a 6-pack. Rare to see a cheap bottle of wine for less than $11. So, whatever, WA looks pretty damn good ot me from here!
2013-01-01 05:25:22 PM
1 votes:

Cranialsodomy: Another Washington resident here. The worst part about the privatization is the limited selection.


You're not going to the right stores. The new Total Wine that opened recently here has a better liquor selection than I'd seen at any of the old liquor stores. The spirits from the local micro-distillery that were impossible to find in the old stores are for sale at a huge number of outlets now.
2013-01-01 05:25:16 PM
1 votes:

BMFPitt: mediablitz: No. You have that backwards. The government is ALWAYS wrong, ALWAYS inefficient, and private businesses can ALWAYS do it better.

I know this is an attempt at sarcasm, but outside of public safety functions and sometimes infrastructure, can you provide a single example where this is not the case?


Sigh...

Are you SERIOUSLY asking that question? SERIOUSLY? You are a true believer, aren't you? I could list a dozen examples, but I'm certain your willful ignorance overrides any need for "examples".
2013-01-01 05:23:55 PM
1 votes:

Cranialsodomy: Another Washington resident here. The worst part about the privatization is the limited selection.

The distributors want to stock as few SKUs as possible because the more SKUs they carry, the higher their costs. In the distributors' perfect world they each carry only one whiskey, one rum, one vodak.


I guess I'll trust your personal experience, because I'm not from Washington.

But I've never been to a store that didn't have a decent enough selection of liquor.  From my small corner store, to Wal Mart, to CostCo.

They all carry low-end to high-end brands in the major categories.
2013-01-01 05:23:18 PM
1 votes:
I wonder if prices will fall once the taxes are phased out or if we will be so used to paying the higher price that retailers will keep them the same. Granted, the grocery business has razor-thin margins and stiff competition, but still
2013-01-01 05:19:27 PM
1 votes:
Another Washington resident here. The worst part about the privatization is the limited selection.

The distributors want to stock as few SKUs as possible because the more SKUs they carry, the higher their costs. In the distributors' perfect world they each carry only one whiskey, one rum, one vodak.

The reason for the higher prices is obvious - Now you've got private distributors and retailers that are trying to squeeze money from the consumer on top of the State's cut. What the less-Government zealots who were in favor of I-1183 don't get is that the State was, at least, trying to run their liquor business in a fair way. The State really wasn't screwing us on liquor, but the private companies want to extract as much money from the consumer as they can.

And soon they will start blaming the State's taxes for the high cost and the people, with their short-term memories, will rise up and say, "Yeah, it's all the State's fault!" forgetting that liquor was cheaper before privatization.

But hey, at least I can buy liquor at 1AM on a Sunday!
2013-01-01 05:05:47 PM
1 votes:
Subs? Here in Illinois the sale of booze is in the hands of private retailers and we have cheaper booze than Washington, had cheaper booze when it was the state of Washington selling it.
2013-01-01 04:45:19 PM
1 votes:

vpb: Let me guess.  The same thing that always happens then something is privatized or deregulated?


I guess you were not alive when we only had one phone company and the airlines were regulated.
2013-01-01 04:41:22 PM
1 votes:

shintochick: Exactly this. This point was stressed during the initiative process. You got the convenience of more locations and hours to purchase in exchange for the price increasing.


Yep. There wasn't a liquor store in my neighborhood, so I normally had to drive north a few miles to Northgate. Now I can walk out of my house in my pajamas one measly block over to the QFC.

I can sort of understand some ire if you're a real aficionado for certain spirits since the grocery and drug stores usually don't have a HUGE selection, but otherwise I gladly play a few more bucks for the shameless convenience.
2013-01-01 04:39:54 PM
1 votes:
The y are considering this same bullshiat in PA...here is the issue...the PA Liquor Control Board is the single largest purchaser from every major distiller and winery...they buy in volumes no wholesaler or retailer could come close to, so, obviously, they should get the best prices. I do not claim or think that we should, therefor, have the lowest liquor prices in the country(significantly lower prices would lead towards significantly higher health issues, for instance), but we should, at the very least, have prices comparable to, and competitive with, every surrounding state's, while collecting more in taxes and such, WITHOUT hurting the end consumer. The biggest issue to me, as an end consumer, is that there is NO discounting to the restaurant and bar industry other than not paying the base sales tax (6% statewide, 7% in certain cities)...which makes liquor MORE expensive in our restaurants and bars...
One would think that, properly run, the PA LCB could be a cash cow for the state economy, WHILE being competitive pricewise with the surrounding states. Somehow, this is not happening...THAT is what needs to be fixed...and not fixed by giving a huge gift to certain croneys of the Governor.
2013-01-01 04:36:08 PM
1 votes:

Nabb1: Liquor is a luxury item, not a necessity. Deal with it.


No kidding. You can really tell when the poor white trash in Washington hates something....they will flood the newspapers with butt hurt.

ZOMG I have to pay an extra $3 for rot gut? How will I survive?
2013-01-01 04:34:31 PM
1 votes:

Dinki: The My Little Pony Killer: Nobody believed it would lower the price.  Stop acting like a victim.

I thought competition always drove down prices.


Yeah, that's why gas is so cheap and affordable.

The only reason I ever heard from folks was they wanted purchasing to be easier. I didn't hear anyone saying they thought it would be tons cheaper.
2013-01-01 04:31:36 PM
1 votes:

The My Little Pony Killer: Nobody believed it would lower the price.  Stop acting like a victim.


Exactly this. This point was stressed during the initiative process. You got the convenience of more locations and hours to purchase in exchange for the price increasing.

/just happy that I get to buy my booze at the NEX in Everett
//their prices are dirt cheap
2013-01-01 04:27:25 PM
1 votes:
I don't see anything about deregulation in that article. It was privatized not deregulated. Deregulation would mean that anybody can buy and sell a product. This is not the case in Washington state.
2013-01-01 04:25:17 PM
1 votes:
2013-01-01 04:24:55 PM
1 votes:
Costs will also be higher initially as lots of people start selling booze that didn't before. They'll have to buy licenses, which they'll roll into the price. Plus the cost of setting up distribution routes, etc. Once all that stuff is ironed out and routine, the fixed costs should drop and those savings should be passed on.
2013-01-01 04:23:02 PM
1 votes:

vpb: Let me guess.  The same thing that always happens then something is privatized or deregulated?


No. You have that backwards. The government is ALWAYS wrong, ALWAYS inefficient, and private businesses can ALWAYS do it better.
2013-01-01 04:22:11 PM
1 votes:
It was clear that the prices were going to stay the same or go up. We passed the law to get the state out of the business of selling liquor, but the only way it could pass was to keep all the state revenue that the old system had. One visit to the Total Wine that recently opened makes me happy with my vote. A shop like that simply couldn't exist under the old laws.
2013-01-01 01:07:52 PM
1 votes:
Give it time.  The prices will come down as competition heats up... or not... depending on how difficult Washington state makes it to obtain a permit to sell packaged goods.
 
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