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Will I-1105 Repeal The Existing Excise Tax On Liquor?

One of the main differences between I-1100 and I-1105 is the way in which they deal with the liquor excise tax. According to Spokane’s Spokesman Review:

“Initiative 1105 would end the markup and the excise tax,” while “Initiative 1100 would end the state’s markup but retain the excise tax.”

Proponents of I-1105 argue that even though the existing taxes would be removed, the Liquor Control Board and Legislature can put new taxes in place. Tacoma’s News Tribune argues this is gamble Washingtonians shouldn’t take:

I-1105 has the […] flaw of repealing existing liquor taxes while banking on the Liquor Control Board and Legislature’s ability to put new taxes in place. That would be another senseless distraction for legislators who will be dealing with not only a budget crisis, but also the possibility of a reinstituted two-thirds requirement for tax increases.

Seattle’s The Stranger agrees:

It gets rid of both the state’s liquor markup and taxes, meaning that if Eyman’s I-1053 passes […] the state would lose all liquor-tax revenues for at least two years at a time when money is tight. That would devastate some good programs. It would also require a distributor middleman for all booze sales forever—essentially shifting the monopoly from the state to the hands of private distributors.

The Spokesman Review says essentially the same thing:

I-1105 does have a provision that directs lawmakers to devise a replacement tax. But if Initiative 1053 passes – and it’s doing quite well in polling – any new tax would have to garner two-thirds approval in both legislative houses.

Learn more about Initiative 1105.

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