Initiative 1183 is by far the most important, and the most talked about, initiative on this year’s ballot. Coincidentally, it is also the most expensive initiative in state history, which is partially why The Daily Evergreen Editorial Board cannot support I-1183.
Costco alone has spent almost $21 million in putting I-1183 on the ballot and financing the “Yes on I-1183” campaign. Additional funding from Safeway and Trader’s Joe ups that total to about $23 million. This raises a big red flag for the Editorial Board.
Despite how much some of our members love Costco, the Editorial Board cannot in good faith support an initiative proposed and funded almost entirely by large corporations.
The state of Washington’s initiative process was designed as a populist form of politics – meant to give average citizens the ability to propose legislative action. Costco and its ilk are circumventing this process for their own financial gain. Regardless of what the Supreme Court says,
corporations are not people.
While the “No on I-1183” campaign has received significant funding from the Washington Beer and Wine Association, it does not compare to the millions spent by Costco and the like.
These companies are merely trying to increase their already substantial revenue stream. Big businesses do not need to line their pockets with any more money from the paying
customers. Instead, that money should continue to go toward the state, which in turn uses that money to fund essential services such as road repair and
We are doubtful of the argument that I-1183 will continue to provide revenue sources for state and local governments. This is an experimental initiative at a time when the economy is not suitable for experimentation.
We are also skeptical of the argument that I-1183 will allow customers to pay less for hard-liquor. In the short-term, yes, but we fully expect companies to raise their prices in the future – just as they do with all their other products.
Privatized hard-liquor sales can work in Washington, but this is not the way. A compromise would be a much better system. Other states sell cheaper liquor in the general stores while the good stuff remains in state-
controlled liquor stores.
While the advertising campaign for “No on I-1183” is absolutely abysmal, the Editorial Board agrees with the larger point. Young people do, and will continue to, find ways to obtain alcohol and make bad choices. I-1183 will do little to change that. However, voting yes on this initiative is voting yes for future corporate influence in our state politics. That is something the Editorial Board cannot abide by.
Plus, we just are not ready for Kirkland brand vodka.