Thursday, February 27, 2014

Washington Lawmakers Want to Gin Up Liquor Sales By Lowering Tax on Booze

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 9:33 AM

It's a known fact that ever since the state of Washington began privatizing its liquor sales, more consumers have been crossing into Idaho to buy cheaper booze.

Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho State Liquor Division, said November 2013 sales, for example, were up 40 percent compared to the year before in the border communities of Moscow and Post Falls. Idaho also opened a new liquor store in the small Idaho Panhandle community of State Line, just to relieve some of the overwhelming sales pressure from the Post Falls store.

The Washington Department of Revenue says the average price of a bottle of liquor is $24.06, but that's a lot higher than Idaho's average of approximately $21.59.

And now, the Associated Press reports that Washington lawmakers want some of those liquor sales back.

Washington lawmakers introduced a measure Feb. 26 that would gradually lower that state's liquor sales taxes from 20.5 percent down to 6.5 percent over eight years.

According to fiscal impact estimates attached to the bill, cutting taxes for booze would cost the state $20 million in the first two years of implementation and more than $46 million two years later. Local governments would also lose about $20 million, according to those estimates.

But supporters say the ultimate impact would boost sales tremendously and have a positive influence on the overall economy.

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