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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

I-1183 changes proposed

OLYMPIA -- The Legislature is considering changes to the initiative that got the state out of the liquor business, changing some of the fees charged distributors and retailers.

Liquor distributors told the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Tuesday they wouldn't fight a plan to continue the 10 percent fee on on the sale of distilled spirits, rather than letting it drop to 5 percent next year as planned in Initiative 1183.

They had doubts the Legislature would let it go down, anyway, a representative of a major distributor told the committee.

That change would raise an estimated $203 million over the next 10 years. Some of that money could be used to make up for the hit local governments took last year when the state changed the traditional split of liquor revenue with cities and counties.

Another proposed change, to drop the 17 percent surcharge for small stores previously owned or licensed by the state when they sell to bars and restaurants, would cost the state about $18 million over 10 years. But it might save some of those stores from going under, the committee was told.

The bill would also lower the liter tax on distilled spirits from $2.44 to $1.22.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.