SPOKANE, Wash. -

The Washington State Liquor Store Association says more than 60-percent of the former state-run stores are now out of business, and the rest appear to be headed in that direction.

According to the Tacoma News Tribune, many of those stores were purchased with debt built-in - money owed to the state and distributors - and that has kept many from even opening their doors. And if they have, profits have plummeted.

One store in Chelan was taking in $2.5 million as a state store and now only takes in $250 thousand.

Lawmakers are trying to help the failing stores. Representative Liz Pike, for example, sponsored legislation to refund the money paid for the rights to the stores, but that bill was filed too late to advance and may not have enough momentum to continue in the next session.

Now liquor retailers are suggesting the state offer a more level price structure or tax break to keep them afloat.