Alcohol
Store manager Todd Young smiles as he restocks tequila at a Costco warehouse store in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Liquor sales up despite high sales tax

It's been three months since private stores started selling liquor in Washington and sales are up 10-percent over the same three months of last year.

"We need to look at the next two or three months to see what that looks like over time. At least in the first three months compared to the previous fiscal year, 10.2 percent overall," says Rick Garza, deputy director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board.

He says Washington is losing sales to Idaho and Oregon, and most of that can be attributed to the high taxes on liquor.

In fact, Oregon's liquor control board says June and July sales at stores near the border were up $1.5 million compared to the same time last year.

The Wall Street Journal says since Initiative 1183 went into effect on June 1, the state Department of Revenue reported the price of liquor rose 17 percent from a year earlier.

The Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that tracks tax rates including sales taxes in states across the U.S., says that Washington liquor taxes were the highest in the country.

Consumers currently pay $13.50 per gallon in federal excise taxes and $3.77 per liter in state taxes, which were present under the old state-owned system. As of June 1, individuals must also pay a new 20.5 percent liquor tax on all purchases.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
Top Stories

  • Failing
    So far, King County voters are rejecting higher car tab fees to save buses

  • Time for Change
    Shannon Drayer is expecting some changes after the Mariners' eighth straight loss

  • 21 and Over
    If 21 is the legal age for alcohol and marijuana, why not cigarettes?
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.