Costco

Bill Would Gradually Lower Liquor Taxes

Feb 26, 2014
AP Photo

Republican and Democrat lawmakers are introducing a measure on Wednesday that would gradually lower liquor taxes.

Backers say lowering taxes would spur more purchases in Washington state and the revenue to the state would eventually be at the same levels prior to privatization.

Danny Choo

You can already buy gigantic packages of toilet paper and toothpaste at Costco stores everywhere from Misato City, Japan, to Lidcombe, Australia. Those are just two of Costco's 634 stores worldwide. 

But now, Costco is planning a more aggressive expansion in the coming 12 months. The wholesale retailer says it aims to open as many as 36 more stores, 10 more than in the fiscal year that ended at the beginning of September. Half of those stores will be outside the U.S.

U.S. Embassy New Delhi

If you’re looking forward to a long weekend, you’re in the minority. The number of employers closing for business on Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been inching up in recent years, but it’s still only 32 percent.

Backers of an initiative to privatize liquor sales in Washington are suing state regulators for clinging to too much power in the newly opened marketplace. The Washington State Liquor Control Board has the job of interpreting provisions of the ballot measure passed last fall. But Costco, the Washington Restaurant Association and the Northwest Grocery Association say the board is using a heavy hand.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

"It's a buying frenzy. That's why I came - I wanted to see it on the first day. How could I miss it?" - Kyle Johnson outside a Costco in Seattle

The state of Washington has officially bid good riddance to its state-run liquor stores. About five times as many stores will now sell hard liquor, and the new law that went into effect today means shoppers can head to supermarkets to buy vodka or rum. It’s a welcome change for some people, like Alyssa Royse.

Joel Goodman / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The fight to privatize liquor sales in Washington just got a lot more expensive. Costco has dumped another $9 million into the Yes on Initiative 1183 campaign.

That brings the wholesale giant’s total spending to more than $22 million – a state record for a ballot measure.

Washington would have the option to privatize the state’s liquor distribution system under a measure that passed the state Senate Saturday. It’s the latest compromise in a long-running debate over the future of Washington’s liquor system.

It’s more “we’ll see if it’s a good deal” option than anything else. The state would solicit bids to see if it could earn money by leasing the state’s liquor distribution facilities. If none of the bids work to Washington’s favor, distribution would continue as a state-run system. Republican Senator Joe Zarelli helped broker the deal.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Voters defeated not one, but two liquor privatization measures last fall -- one of them sponsored by Costco. But a key lawmaker says that's not stopping the Issaquah warehouse chain from continuing to push the issue in Olympia.