Yesterday, KING 5 reporter Robert Mak  fact-checked an ad released by opponents of this year's liquor privatization initiatives.

His findings? The ad is pretty generally misleading. The opponents of privatization swung and missed on two out of three claims they made. The ad in question features a firefighter/EMT, who makes a batch of claims about the harms of privatizing state sales and distribution of liquor.

First, the narrator says that ten times as many stores will be selling liquor if we privatize. This claim is true, according to Robert Mak’s check. There are currently 315 hard liquor outlets, and a report by State Auditor Brian Sonntag anticipates that there will be roughly 3,300 if we go private.

The rest of the claims? Whiff.

The ad says Washington will have twice as many liquor stores per capita as California. According to Mak, to finagle this comparison, the No on 1100 campaign discarded the auditor's figures and made up a new estimate for the number of liquor stores privatization would create. Reality:  Number of people per liquor store in Washington post-privatization? 2,000. In the Golden State? 2,800. Whoops.

Mak also smacks down a claim that Privatization would cut over $200 million in local funding for police and fire. According to Mak, there may be a loss in revenue, but that money doesn’t necessarily get cut from police or fire departments.

Anne Martens with the Protect Washington Coalition (which opposes initiatives which would cost the state revenue) defended the ad, saying the cost of the initiatives—$180-$192 million over five years on the local level, according to the state Office of Financial Management—is the important issue.

And, she defended the third claim, saying police and fire still might be cut due to our budget crisis. "King County already has a $60 million deficit even without these initiatives. If we make the problem worse, core services like police and firefighters will get cut."

See the segment for yourself (which includes the original ad) here.
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