Our privatized liquor system, which we voted into existence with initiative 1183, is becoming national news.
The Wall Street Journal seems to think we voted against our own interests—in fact, our system is so screwy that it's become and object lesson against privatization.
And while those sales and excise taxes remain under privatization, new fees further raised prices: Liquor distributors must pay an additional 10% levy, and retailers another 17%. Distributors also are on the hook for any shortfall to the state if they don't generate $150 million from the 10% fee by April.
"It's astronomical and confiscatory for the consumer,'' said David Ozgo, chief economist at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, which represents U.S. liquor suppliers.
The spillover could potentially damp privatization elsewhere. "It's slowing down the process in others states. It's turning into a negative,'' said Craig Wolf, president of Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, a national industry group for wholesalers.
Maybe initiative 1183 is just another brick in Goldy's argument for why the initiative process looks good in theory, but actually sucks.