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AG Rob McKenna supports Costco-backed liquor initiative
Posted by Andrew Garber
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, who is running for governor in 2012, said Friday he supports the Costco-backed liquor privatization initiative, I-1183.
"Speaking as a private citizen, I am personally voting for I-1183," McKenna said in a statement.
He'd previously said he was undecided.
The measure would close state liquor stores and sell their assets, including the liquor-distribution center. It would allow grocery stores to sell liquor and create licensing fees for sale and distribution of liquor based on sales revenue.
McKenna gave three reasons for his support:
First, I believe that, at a time when we must reduce the size and cost of state government, the state does not need to be in the business of hard liquor sales;
Second, I have looked at the research from other states which have changed their approach to liquor sales, and apparently you don't see an increase in the social problems we should all be concerned about, such as increased DUIs and youth access to alcohol. I-1183 will toughen the penalties for sales to minors, which is one reason I think you are seeing current and former law officials supporting it;
Third, passing this initiative will generate more net revenue for the state, which was not the case with a similar initiative I voted against last year.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, who's also running for governor, said last month that he opposes I-1183: Inslee said, "As a former prosecutor of many drunk drivers who has personally seen the carnage they cause, I cannot in good conscience support a large expansion of hard liquor availability in our state. So while we must look for efficiencies in the delivery of all services, I cannot support this measure."
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