OLYMPIA — Owners of former contract liquor stores struggling with the new law on liquor sales would get some help from fees under a bill approved Tuesday by the Senate.
After voters approved a ballot measure getting the state out of the wholesale and retail liquor business, the number of stores offering distilled spirits multiplied rapidly. Owners of stores that had a contract with the state to sell liquor in small communities were allowed to obtain licenses for their stores, but were required to pay the same fees as all other stores, 17 percent of the revenue from all sales.
Contract stores have struggled because they lost much of their market, both to restaurants and bars which once made up a significant portion of their sales, and to national retailers who can sell liquor for less. SB 6237 revises the fee structure so that any former contract store that has less than $200,000 in sales in a month will not pay the fee and those with sales between $200,000 and $350,000 a month will pay 7 percent of the receipts. Those with sales of more than $350,000 a month will still pay the 17 percent fee.
The bill was sent to the House on a 30-17 vote