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Privatization Talk Driven by Govt Finances – HST Defeated

Privatization of government involvement in liquor distribution is once again attracting discussion and proposals in a number of jurisdictions. Most of the impetus for this is driven by cost concerns in a time of limited government resources and finances. Here is a run down of some of the developments.

Washington. A new initiative for the ballot in November, primarily backed by Costco, once again asks voters to approve the privatization of the remainder of Washington\’s liquor distribution system. The details are in this Seattle Times article: New Poll Shows Voters Split on Liquor Initiatives

Oregon. An editorial in Oregon also asks why that state is still involved in liquor distribution: State Should Get Out of the Liquor Business

Utah. A scandal in Utah prompts an editorial in that state to also question why government is in the liquor business at all: Why Is Utah in Liquor?

In my view, we should also be considering these issues in British Columbia. Following today\’s defeat of the HST (the retention of the HST would have generally been positive for the wine industry), our government now has serious financial constraints with increasing and important demands on spending from education and health care. How can British Columbians afford to spend almost $300 million per year on running a government liquor distribution system?

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