From full privatization to leasing out individual functions, the legislature has seen no dearth of liquor reform proposals this year. One measure that would require to Office of Financial Management to develop and issue a request for proposals to replace the state’s existing system for liquor distribution, Senate Bill 5942, currently awaits approval by the Governor. But not all members of the legislature agree with the controversial proposal – including Senator Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach.
Sheldon sees the legislation as risky for the state.
“As drafted, the proposal provides very little opportunity for a positive return to the taxpayers of Washington,” Said Sheldon. “The narrow terms of eligibility alone within the bill will exclude more competitive proposals, resulting in even fewer dollars being generated for state and local governments.”
Today Sheldon sent a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire, urging her to veto the legislation.
“Liquor reform is a critical issues for countless businesses and Washingtonians across the state,” Said Sheldon. “That’s why more time is needed to articulate a proposal that works to the benefit of all Washington taxpayers.”
Sheldon pointed to a recent citizen-based initiative as a compromise solution that voters would be able to examine next fall, but likely won’t if the bill is signed as it stands. The emergency clause within the bill would allow it to go into effect immediately, without public right to referendum.
“I find it difficult to believe that there is a liquor emergency in Washington State at this time,” Said Sheldon. “The clause serves only to pre-empt a new debate with the public on a compromise solution to a controversial problem. Should the Governor sign the bill, I hope that she, in the least, vetos this transparently political maneuver.”