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Published on Friday, October 4, 2013

Update on local liquor tax distributions

When legislators passed the state’s 2013 – 2015 biennial budget, they intended to redirect 50% of local liquor taxes to the state general fund. This would have left cities and counties with $24.7 million in liquor tax distributions over the two year state budget.

Unfortunately, the budget bill did not accurately account for the $10 million annually in permanent local liquor tax diversions enacted in the 2012 legislative session and left local governments with just $15.5 million in liquor tax distributions instead.

AWC and the Washington State Association of Counties have been working with the State Treasurer’s office and legislative staff to ensure that cities and counties receive the higher amount legislators intended. Last month, budget leaders in both chambers signed a letter directing the State Treasurer to make the distributions based on the higher amount they intended and stating that they plan to enact correcting legislation in the 2014 legislative session.