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OLYMPIA, Wash. - Getting the state out of the alcohol-selling business is one way to save and make the state money, according to State Auditor Brian Sonntag.

Is it a core function of the state to be selling alcohol? I don't think so, said Sonntag.

A recent performance review conducted by the Auditor's Office concluded the state could make more than $350 millionby privatizing liquor sales.

Around 900 state employees who work in liquor sales could be laid off as a result.

The Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kelli Linville, D-Bellingham, said it's an issue that should be considered this session.

Linville said facing a $2.6 billiondeficit she would rather hire teachers than liquor salespeople.

I think that's something the private sector could do as well as we do, said Rep. Linville, as long as we tax the heck out of it and regulate the heck out of it.

The Deputy Director of the State's Liquor Control Board does not like the idea.

The only way to make an increase in revenue is to sell more liquor, said Dep. Director Rick Garza.

Garza said an increase in consumption would cause more costly problems for the state.

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