(King Li, SCT Staff) Residents and visitors of Columbia City were offered a chance to better understand 3 of the initiatives on the ballot this general election. They are I-1098 (State income tax), I-1100 (adjust the way liquors are sold/regulated), and I-1105 (privatizes liquor distribution/retail).

The Urban Enterprise Center and Sea Beez, sponsored an initiative debate last Friday October 15, which featured Bill Gates Sr and Pramila Jayapal in support for the I-1098; Alex Porter and Matt McIlwain against the initiative. For I-1100/1105, support included Sharon Maeda and Steve Williamson, and opposition included Ashley Bach.

(King Li, SCT Staff) Residents and visitors of Columbia City were offered a chance to better understand 3 of the initiatives on the ballot this general election. They are I-1098 (State income tax), I-1100 (adjust the way liquors are sold/regulated), and I-1105 (privatizes liquor distribution/retail).

The Urban Enterprise Center and Sea Beez, sponsored an initiative debate last Friday October 15, which featured Bill Gates Sr and Pramila Jayapal in support for the I-1098; Alex Porter and Matt McIlwain against the initiative. For I-1100/1105, support included Sharon Maeda and Steve Williamson, and opposition included Ashley Bach.

I-1098 concerns the establishment of an income tax in Washington. If passed, singles who earn over $200,000 and couples over $400,000 will pay 5% or more of their income to the state. Proponents of the measure said it will help with government deficit, especially put funding back in education.

   

The opponents pointed to figures suggesting a relation with the states without income tax are also developing the fastest. They also suggested that legislature will be able to extend the tax to everybody in two years, even if it will require state-wide voting to adjust the schedule.

Jayapal said, the wealthiest pay less than 3% of their income in taxes, while the poor pay 17%.

“Two billion dollars will be raised by taxing just the richest 1%,” said Bill Gates Sr, “for those of us who will be paying, it’s a small amount of money.”

I-1100 establishes licenses, fees, taxes on hard liquors for private vendors and I-1105 removes the Liquor Control Board’s role in the sale of hard liquor. If passed, hard liquors will begin to be sold at private vendors, such as grocery stores and wholesales, in a year and there will no longer be state liquor stores. The Liquor Control Board will no longer profit from markups, but will earn tax revenue from the distributors and retailers.

   

Ashley Bach, on the pro side, said that by joining the other 32 states in privatizing liquor, Washington can see jobs in the private sector and end government monopoly. The Liquor Control Board can instead focus entirely on regulations. And he saw no problems with states with privatized liquor sales.

The con side, naming their campaign “Protect Our Communities,” cited the 75% liquor law compliance rate grocery stores have. If the measures are passed, they say will severely increase underage drinking as hard liquor will provide a stronger effect for less money. Some members of the audience also shared personal witness of public drunkenness in others states in direct relation with liquors.

In closing, Ashley Bach pointed out the average state markup is 51.9%. The state revenue should benefit from the liquor taxes, though he never once mentioned the lost revenue from sales.

Opposing the measure, Sharon Maeda painted the reality: the number of hard liquor outlets will increase from the current 315 up to a possible of 3,300 should the measures pass. It will be far more cost effective to get drunk for anyone who shouldn’t be drinking.

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