Employees at Issaquah-based retailer Costco will start collecting voter signatures inside stores in support of an initiative to privatize liquor sales.
Costco, and fellow grocery giants QFC and Safeway, have announced their support of Initiative 1100, which calls for the Washington state liquor control board to stop selling liquor and “end its prohibition-era monopoly on selling distilled spirits.”
The state will license the sale of distilled spirits to regulated vendors.
Supporters of the initiative claim that privatizing liquor distribution and sales in Washington would increase state revenue by $86.8 million over the next 5 years. This would include the one-time, $25.6 million sale of the state’s liquor-distribution center.
More than 930 Liquor Control Board employees would lose their jobs.
Opponents of the measure say that eliminating price controls on liquor will lead to more consumption.
Even with additional taxes, consumers would pay less for liquor than they do now, as private business uses discounts to compete for customers.
Costco was part of a failed push three years ago to challenge the current system.
Employees in 26 stores around the state will collect signatures, hoping to come up with 240,000 names by July 2.
According to a blog post on www.seattle.momslikeme.com., the initiative is being well supported by those who favor the convenience of liquor sales at local grocery stores.
“I had to stand in line at Costco today to sign this petition!”