Despite Privatization, Washington Has Highest Booze Prices in U.S.
Alcohol vendors are suffering from poor sales and high taxes.
Some two years after the state liquor stores went way, and stores large and small began to sell hard alcohol, consumers were pleased because the variety of beverages far exceeded what the state stores offered.
However, Washington state faced with the potential loss of all that tax revenue from the old state stores, slapped several excessive new taxes on the booze. Now, according to a report from KREM -2 TV in Spokane, alcohol prices in our state are higher than before, and the highest in the nation.
According to the outgoing director of the State Liquor Control Board, Sharon Foster, "[Privatization] was the dumbest thing we ever did in our state." Because of the excessive taxes, small dealers are being hard hit. Large stores such as Costco, Walmart and others have been able to make some decent profits due to their mass volume. But the taxes have priced the alcohol beyond what many consumers are willing to pay in smaller stores.
What Foster and other critics of privatization are missing is that had the system worked the way it was designed, the prices would be lower. THE VERY REASON privatization was pushed for was A) to allow far bigger varieties of alcohol to be readily available, and B) to offer some relief of the absurd tax rates charged by the State Liquor Control board.
According to KREM -2- customers are now flocking to Idaho, especially those who live in the Spokane area. The state line is less than 20 minutes away for most of the metro area.
They, the Board, were the fly in the ointment. It's similar to when the voters approved lowering vehicle tabs. Voters were tired of the excessive, growing taxes, and passed the measure to lower them. Then the state allowed counties and local cities to pass their own tax measures that brought up the prices again somewhat.
When voters want lower taxes, government officials just don't get it! According to KREM -2 TV, our prices are now the highest in the nation, and many alcohol vendors are getting -pardon the expression - hammered (financially):
"...In Washington, a gallon of alcohol costs about $35. Compare that to two years ago when it cost $27 before it was privatized. Washington's liquor prices are currently the highest in the country and cost $25 more than what it would cost just a few miles away in Idaho."
So, critics of privatization, before you go shooting off misguided statements about we the voters being "stupid" about doing away with thestate liquor stores, consider the REASON is was done...tax relief. Again, officials just don't get it. They cannot seem to fathom that voters and citizens are getting sick of them sticking their hands in our pockets.
Regardless of the industry, the private sector will always do a superior job of providing affordable, desired products for consumers. The only thing the government is good at is fighting wars. Just remember that.