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Eye on Boise: Liquor profits flow to the state

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Liquor profits flow to the state About this blog This website is here to help you keep an eye on the happenings in your state capital - from government and politics to court cases and southern Idaho oddities. Our web log will bring you fresh tidbits, and links can take you to our latest coverage and to helpful web sites. Take a look, and check back often it's your state.

With sales continuing to boom at the Idaho state liquor dispensary, JFAC

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business but raise taxes enough to maintain its revenues, prices would go

member Rep. Margaret Henbest, D-Boise, asked this morning, “If we weren’t in the business as a state, could we just tax liquor and not have the operational cost, and just have the income? Has anybody ever done the math?” Responded Liquor Dispensary Superintendent Dyke Nalley, “No state has ever given up the business, since 1933. … Our net margin is like 33 percent on business.” Idaho decided to become a control state after Prohibition, Nally said, along with 17 other states. The result is that the state reaps the profits from liquor sales, and controls distribution. If the state were to get out of the up for consumers, and private sector marketers would massively step up


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marketing efforts with more selling hours and advertising in order to make their profits. “What happens is more marketing by the private sector, later extended hours, and more social costs like you see in an open state like

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California,” Nally told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “The

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social costs definitely go up – there have been some models on that.”

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Idaho’s per-capita liquor consumption ranks 37th in the nation, and the XML RSS feed

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state is 17 percent below average consumption in non-control states. The

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increasing sales in recent years, Nally said, were due to “very dramatic”

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population increases, plus an increasing tendency of Idaho liquor buyers to

February 2008

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choose more expensive products. That’s why dollar sales are up 65 percent

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in the past five years, but bottle sales are up only 42 percent. “So we’re not really pushing a lot more liquor – we’re making a lot more money, though,” Nally said.

August 2007

The liquor dispensary is proposing to open two new stores in the coming

July 2007

year, in Kuna and Meridian. Gov. Butch Otter has blessed the request. The

June 2007

dispensary’s total proposed budget for next year is $19.2 million, but none

May 2007

of that comes from state general tax funds. It’s all from liquor sales. Last

April 2007

year, the dispensary handed over $39.2 million in profits to the state, cities

February 2007

and counties, courts, schools, and alcohol treatment programs. Posted by Betsy!!|!!5 Feb!9:59 AM

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I think I'll go pick up some Bulleit Bourbon right now. Posted by Dustin in Meridian!!|!!5 Feb!11:47 AM

May 2006

Betsy Z. Russell works as staff writer for The SpokesmanReview. In that position, Russell covers Idaho news from our bureau in Boise.

Property tax calculator How much will you save from the reduction in Idaho's property tax? How much more might you spend with the increase in sales tax? What's the bottom line? Check it out and see.

April 2006 March 2006

It's interesting to me that there generally seems to be a rationale for

February 2006

privatizing things rather than keeping them under government control.

January 2006 December 2005

So sometimes the government does do things more efficiently and cheaply

November 2005

(with a direct benefit to the consumers)? What a thought. I'll remember

October 2005

this example the next time there's a big push to make the government

September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005

'more like a business.' Posted by Zelkova!!|!!5 Feb!1:37 PM

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