Washington Citizens for Liquor Reform Demand Correction From State OFM to Voters

Negligent errors and blatantly false statements mislead voters about I-1105 and its revenue impacts

Oct 18, 2010, 17:38 ET from YES on I-1105

SEATTLE, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Citizens for Liquor Reform are calling on the Office of Financial Management (OFM) to apologize and send voters a corrected statement on I-1105 due to blatantly false and inaccurate information published in the 2010 General Election Voters' Guide.  

Initiative 1105 supporters asked to meet with the OFM earlier this year, but the state department refused, saying they would only be meeting with staff from the Liquor Control Board.

The OFM inaccurately claims sections of I-1100 are also in I-1105 when it simply isn't the case. They also omitted from their projections several sources of funding created by I-1105.

Spokesperson for Washington Citizens for Liquor Reform Charla Neuman said the errors were so grave and severe both in substance and number that, "The OFM is abusing its role in government, playing Karl Rove-like politics to mislead voters. They owe an apology to the more than 365,000 people who signed the I-1105 petition."

Neuman explained, "The OFM's omission of new license fees, B&O taxes and liquor taxes from their estimates, combined with their blatantly false statements about the content of the initiative, all add up to gross negligence and deliberate deception."

The OFM issued an apology earlier for errors they made in revenue estimates on another initiative. The mistakes made in their assumptions under I-1105 equate to something much more than a simple math mistake.

"At this rate, I wouldn't trust the OFM to count my pocket change," Neuman added. "Voters deserve honest facts, not false claims and half-finished homework. It isn't too late for voters to be sent a correction and that is exactly what the OFM should do if there is any integrity left to be found in that department."

In the voters' guide, the OFM writes of I-1100 (found at the bottom of page 27 and continuing onto page 28 in one guide, PDF Here), "The initiative requires liquor license revenue to be used only for purposes of the administration and enforcement of liquor licenses and reducing underage or abusive consumption. Therefore, an estimated $3.7 million each fiscal year is assumed to be spent on LCB liquor license administration and enforcement activities."

This is based on language from I-1100 that specifically contains "New Section Sec. 9. A new section is added to chapter 66.08 RCW to read as follows: Fees from the issuance of licenses to sell spirits under section 14, 16, and 17 of this act may be expended only for purposes of the administration and enforcement of liquor licenses and reducing underage or abusive consumption."

While that is the case with I-1100, no such language exists in I-1105. In fact, where I-1105 does specify the direction of revenue, it requires the funds go to the state's general revenue account. Yet, the OFM incorrectly claims the opposite.

The OFM wrongly stated about I-1105, "The initiative requires liquor license revenue to be used only for purposes of the administration and enforcement of liquor licenses and reducing underage or abusive consumption.  Therefore an estimated $7.4 million each fiscal year is assumed to be spent on LCB liquor license administration and enforcement activities."

Not only did the OFM state incorrectly what I-1105 requires, they also doubled their figure for I-1105 from the one they use for I-1100 and then deducted the amount from their general revenue estimates. They make the same statements (incorrectly) yet draw different financial conclusions.

They also omit roughly $300 million of revenue from the new license fees, $40 million in B&O taxes and over $200 million a year in liquor taxes.

For more information, see: http://liquorreform.org/

Contact: Charla Neuman

253-906-7420



SOURCE YES on I-1105



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