State Liquor Control Board plans to open new stores - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

State Liquor Control Board plans to open new stores; increase revenue by $16 million

OLYMPIA, Wash. - As part of Washington state budget cuts that have forced reductions in staff and services at the State Liquor Control Board, the organization has unveiled a plan to raise more than $16 million in new revenue to offset a multimillion dollar budget gap.

The WSLCB says it used a variety of cuts and cost-savings to cover that $3.8 million budget gap in the 2009-2011 Operating Budget but will now roll out at least six new projects, including new retail liquor sale locations and new holiday schedules.

The new locations will include 15 new stores; 5 new state-operated stores, along with 10 additional contracted locations. The store locations will be based on a 2005 study and on population growth in areas across Washington State. They are expected to account for $1.3 million in new revenue for the agency.

Other plans include new holiday hours, which will keep most state-owned liquor stores open on New Years Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day. To check which locations are open on certain holidays click here.

This portion of the plan is expected to draw $4.7 million in new revenue, while another new seasonal plan would attract $3.8 million. When that seasonal plan goes into effect, the WSLCB would open 6 stores for a period of 60 days during the winter holiday season in certain shopping centers across the state. These seasonal stores would only have a limited product selection and would be geared toward selling gift packages.

Among other plans, the WSLCB also hopes to expand Sunday sales and Washington Lottery sales to include the full line of Washington State Lottery products in state stores. Those plans would create an addition $5.5 million in new revenue. To see a detailed break down of the plan from the WSLCB then click here.

The new revenue isn't expected to completely solve the budget problem for the agency. In fact, the WSLCB is also planning a series of cost reductions, including layoffs. A June 10 statement from the agency says it has already eliminated more than 20 positions, including three management level positions. Additionally the three-member Liquor Control Board is in the midst of a transition from paid to volunteer status. Currently the board members work on a 60% time pay rate.

The reductions will also require the closure of several WSLCB field enforcement offices beginning in July. The five office closures aren't expected to have a major effect on enforcement because WSLCB officers will continue to operate around the state by using specialized computers in the field. Further, classes and training will be shifted to regional offices or business facilities licensed for such events. The WSLCB statement says that the decisions to cut staff and close offices was difficult but necessary to continue successfully maintaining its dual mission of promoting public safety and generating revenue.

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