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The Seattle Times reports that Costco got its money’s worth yesterday when 60 percent of Washington State voters cast their ballots in favor of an initiative that gets the state out of the liquor business and allows private retailers to sell spirits. The new law takes effect in June 2012.

The story says that “the state budgeting office figures the number of outlets selling liquor will jump from 328 to 1,428. It also expects the change to generate an average of $80 million more in annual revenue for the state and local governments over the next six years.”

Costco reportedly spent $22.5 million supporting the initiative and was by far the largest contributor to the cause.

According to the Times, “The coalition against I-1183 was financed mostly by wine and liquor distributors, who fear that liquor and wine deregulation in the measure will spread to other states ... Distributors particularly dislike that I-1183 allows retailers to buy liquor directly from distilleries. Since Prohibition ended, states have required retailers to go through distributors for liquor, and experts say Washington now might be the only state to tear down that law.”
KC's View:
I did a little checking, and noted that 685,797 people voted for the initiative. If my math is right, that means Costco spent about $32.80 per vote. I guess that’s a good investment, especially if the change means for Costco’s long-term balance sheet what the story suggests it means (especially if the measure is adopted by other states).

Though I must admit, it does make me wonder about the price of democracy these days.