Source: Tom Banse, NW News Network, February 9, 2016
The privatization of retail liquor sales in Washington state has delivered a sustained boost to the state liquor divisions in neighboring Idaho and Oregon. Private retailers took over liquor sales in Washington in 2012 following passage of a ballot measure, notably backed by Costco. An analysis by the Alcohol Research Group at the Public Health Institute in Emeryville, California, published last year found that liquor prices rose by an average of 15.5 percent after privatization, but vary greatly by store type. The price increases were largely due to added state taxes. … An interactive online map of Oregon retail liquor outlets shows a sharp jump in sales coinciding with Washington’s privatization. At ten stores near the Oregon-Washington state line the increases from 2011 to 2013 ranged between 17 to 67 percent, with most at doing at least 30 percent more business. Those boosts in sales were sustained through fiscal year 2015, the most recent year of data available.
Are State Workers Overpaid? Survey Evidence from Liquor Privatization in Washington State
Source: Andrew Chamberlain, Journal of Labor Research, December 2015, Vol. 36 no. 4
Industry privatizations that result in exogenous job displacement of public employees can be exploited to estimate public sector wage rents. I report the findings of an original survey I administered to examine how wages of displaced government workers were affected by a 2012 privatization of liquor retailing in Washington State. Based on a panel difference-in-differences estimator I find that privatization reduced wages by $2.51 per hour or 17 percent compared to a counterfactual group of nearly identical non-displaced workers, with larger effects for women. I decompose wage losses into three rents identified in the literature: public sector rents, union premiums, and industry-specific human capital. Public sector wage premiums separately account for 85 to 90 percent of overall wage losses, while union premiums and industry-specific human capital account for just 10 to 15 percent. The results are consistent with a roughly 16 percent public sector wage premium.
Serving The People: Evaluating Initiative 1183 & Liquor Privatization in Washington State
Source: Alex P. Ferraro, University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 76, No. 3, Spring 2015
Introduction: This Note argues that Washington’s experience with I-1183 provides several important lessons to citizens and legislators in other states seeking to reform or privatize state-run liquor systems. First, this note briefly discusses the origins of Washington’s state-run liquor system, a key lawsuit against the Washington State Liquor Control Board (“WSLCB”), and two privatization initiatives that failed at the ballot box in 2010. Second, this Note examines the I-1183 campaign, its key provisions, and the Washington Supreme Court’s decision to uphold its constitutionality. Third, this note examines the transition to a privatized system following the voters’ ratification of I-1183, including regulatory and legislative action(s) mandated by, or taken because of, the initiative itself. Finally, this Note offers several recommendations to privatization advocates for crafting initiatives or legislation drawing on the successes of I-1183 while avoiding some of its failures and disappointments.
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Liquor privatization: Did the fears come true?
Source: Jack Broom, Seattle Times, June 29, 2014
Highway deaths are down, ER visits linked to alcohol are up — but it’s not yet possible to draw clear conclusions linking those statistics and others to Washington’s 2-year-old alcohol law….
Early data show increase in alcohol emergencies since privatization
Source: Jordan Schrader, Olympian, May 29, 2014
Shoppers are buying a bit more hard liquor now that they can find it at four times as many stores and during twice as many hours as it was available before voters privatized liquor sales in 2011. So how is Washington handling its extra liquor? Partly — according to researchers who are trying to answer that question — by making more trips to the emergency room. …. The good news: State government has a bit more revenue, at least for now. The bad news: a rise in emergency room visits, which researchers say is happening among minors younger than 21 and among both men and women 40 and older.
Liquor thefts have tripled in Puyallup post-privatization
Source: Zahid Arab, KING 5 News, December 14, 2013
Alcohol thefts in Puyallup on average are up to nine a month. … Concerned about this rising trend, Puyallup Police did an independent crime analysis. It found that post privatization, the number of people under 21 who are stealing has doubled. And that 95 percent of thefts are now hard alcohol, with the prime targets being grocery stores….
A year after privatization, liquor thefts rampant
Source: Ian Cull, KXLY4, August 1 2013
A year after privatization, liquor thefts rampant 00:0000:00 SPOKANE, Wash. – More than a year after Washington privatized liquor sales stores continue to deal with brazen shoplifters. Right now stores don’t have to disclose what’s been stolen but lawmakers are hoping to change that. While stores don’t have to disclose what’s being stolen, Dian Lee, who lives in the Logan neighborhood, only has to look around her neighborhood and behind the grocery store to see how much is being stolen. “I’ve seen liquor bottles, empty liquor bottles, of course we see those all the time,” Lee said.
State revenues grow from liquor privatization
Source: Melissa Allison, Seattle Times, May 31, 2013
A year ago, you couldn’t buy liquor at grocery stores in Washington. Now you can, but you probably pay more for it. June 1 will mark the one-year anniversary of the state’s departure from the liquor business, when it turned sales over to private retailers such as Costco Wholesale and Safeway. The conversion happened at the behest of voters, who approved a Costco-written initiative in the fall of 2011…. Prices spiked sharply last summer, but the rate of increase has steadily declined. In March, prices were 7 percent higher year-over-year, according to the Washington State Department of Revenue. Additional repercussions from Washington’s conversion include hundreds of former Liquor Control Board workers still collecting unemployment benefits, shoplifting concerns among law-enforcement authorities and possibly more liberal attitudes about alcohol among youth…. Typically, 5 to 6 percent of stores under the state-run system were found to have sold to minors. Under private retailers, the range since last June is 5 to 10 percent…. One crime that seems to have risen is shoplifting, possibly because retailers are not as careful about security as the state was…
Shoplifting incidents rise with liquor privatization
Source: Tony Lystra, Daily News, January 26, 2013
…Spirits theft has become a common crime at stores locally and statewide since voters decided in 2011 to shut down the state’s liquor stores and allow grocery stores to sell hard alcohol. Shoplifters are taking advantage of the grocery stores’ relatively lax security and making off with bottles of whiskey, vodka, tequila and other spirits….
Retailers learning some hard lessons selling hard liquor
Source: Josh Farley, Kitsap Sun, December 3, 2012
Liquor thefts … have skyrocketed in Kitsap County and around the state since Initiative 1183 took effect in June, according to area law enforcement officials. And while there are around 1,500 storefronts authorized to sell hard liquor around Washington, no one is currently compiling statewide data on how often thieves strike. That likely will change. The state’s liquor board will soon begin a rule-making process to require retailers to report their liquor theft numbers to the state, said Brian Smith, spokesman of the Washington State Liquor Control Board….
Liquor Buyers Cross State Line / Prices Went Up–Not Down–After Washington State Ended Control of Booze Sales
Source: Joel Millman, Mike Esterl, Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2012
Washington residents are pouring over the Oregon line this summer to buy liquor after Washington state privatized the sale of hard alcohol–and made the booze more expensive by raising state fees. ….. Some say prices could come down somewhat after distributors and retailers work through start-up costs and become more efficient. But much of the blame is being laid on taxes. … 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.
Private liquor sales adding up to pocket pain for consumers
Source: KIRO, May 29, 2012
By the end the week, it will cost consumers about $10 more to buy a fifth of liquor at a privately run liquor store.
State Supreme Court upholds liquor-privatization measure
Source: Amy Martinez, Seattle Times,May 31, 2012
Liquor Prices To Skyrocket After Privatization
Source: KMAS News Radio, 29 May 2012
Liquor privatization sales go to state’s high court
Source: Associated Press, May 17, 2012
Wash.: Unions challenge liquor privatization
Source: Associated Press, December 6, 2011
Washington auctioning off liquor sales rights as it readies to get out of booze business
Source: Associated Press, March 8, 2012
Ruling affirms privatization of liquor sales
Source: Shannon Dininny, Associated Press, March 20, 2012
As private liquor sales loom, some state workers wonder what to do
Source: KIRO, April 3, 2012
Voters kick state out of liquor business
Source: Melissa Allison, Seattle Times, November 9, 2011
Beginning June 1, grocery stores in Washington will begin selling liquor. That’s the result of a $22.7 million voter campaign that Costco Wholesale led to kick the state out of the liquor business and allow private retailers to sell spirits instead. Of the ballots tallied Tuesday night, about 60 percent favored Initiative 1183.