The Seattlepi.com ran a story today taking issue with a quote from my booze initiative article attributed to Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith. In the article, Smith said, "We pay for ourselves in the markup. Without it, we can't run enforcement, licensing, alcohol-awareness programs, or the liquor control board."
The Seattlepi.com responds:
There are also claims that Initiatives 1100 and 1105 would hobble the agency charged with enforcing liquor laws - the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Agency spokesman Brian Smith told the Stranger this week that without the "markup" - the fee the state now adds to booze before it is taxed - the LCB couldn't do its job. "Without it, we can't run enforcement, licensing, alcohol-awareness programs, or the liquor control board."
That's simply not the case.
For the 2009 fiscal year, all of the licensing and enforcement funding ($18.6 million) came from a combination of Beer and Wine taxes and Licensing Fees. Neither initiative would do anything to the wine tax.
Today, Smith clarified: “We currently pay for ourselves with the markup. The initiatives [slated for the ballot] don’t fund us, but there’s money in the liquor revolving account that can pay for that. Currently, its used elsewhere. That money is what we would use first for our expenses if we need it—which we don’t right now.”
And there you have it.