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Published on Friday, January 27, 2017

House Committee considers proposal to restore city and county liquor revenue

As we mentioned in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, slightly different proposals to restore city and county liquor revenue have been introduced in the House and Senate.

Last week the House Appropriations Committee heard HB 1113, which gradually increases the amount of liquor profits distributed to cities and counties until reinstating the traditional percentage based sharing formula in state fiscal year 2025. Representatives of cities, counties, police, and grocery stores all testified in support of the bill.

AWC’s Vice President and Buckley Mayor, Pat Johnson, emphasized that cities and counties receive a portion of state collected liquor revenue based on a long-standing agreement with the state. With the end of prohibition more than 80 years ago, the state pre-empted local governments from taxing liquor and instead agreed that a portion of liquor revenue generated at the state level would be distributed to cities and counties. This recognized the impacts of alcohol felt in our communities, and without this agreement, cities and counties would have explored other options and authorities.

A representative from the Northwest Grocery Association also testified in support of the bill. She noted that as they drafted the initiative to privatize liquor sales, they were very careful to not only preserve city and county liquor revenue but to enhance it for public safety. This provision was not honored by the Legislature following privatization.

Efforts continue to move this bill through the House of Representatives and secure a hearing for the Senate liquor revenue proposal, SB 5240.

Categories: Budget & finance