To counter opposition to a 2010 initiative, I-1183 includes a a 17 percent fee on all liquor sales by retailers as well as fees from distributors.
The state received $302 million from selling liquor in fiscal 2010. Under last year’s measure, it could have lost up to $17 million a year of that share, according to the state’s Office of Financial Management. Local governments, for their part, received $69 million in liquor revenues in 2010, and could have lost more than half of their take under the previous Costco-backed measure.
The Office of Financial Management expects to release on Aug. 10 an analysis of I-1183′s financial impact. But the initiative would bring in more government revenues than last year’s measure, largely because of the 17 percent fee on retailers for total liquor sales.
The Washington Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association opposes I-1183, but executive director John Guadnola said, “We’re not participating financially, although that could change.”
The association contributed nearly $2 million to oppose Costco’s initiative last year — on top of $2 million it spent in earlier years battling Costco in court, when the Issaquah-based company tried unsuccessfully to overhaul Washington’s beer and wine laws through the legal system.
Roughly 70 percent of the business done by Washington’s wholesalers is beer, and the other 30 percent is wine, Guadnola said.