Thursday, July 21, 2011
The following is a letter submitted to the Idaho Joint Legislative Oversight Committee from the Office of Performance Evaluations:
"January 25, 2011
Joint Legislative Oversight Committee
In March 2010, you directed us to evaluate the Idaho State Liquor Division. We focused our evaluation in three areas: (1) evaluating operational efficiencies, (2) identifying growth of the division, and (3) determining the feasibility of privatizing the state's liquor system.
We found that the division has grown substantially in the past five years. During this same time, expenses have increased at a faster rate than both sales and net profits. We estimate that nearly $700,000 could be saved annually if some of the state-operated stores with the lowest sales were converted to contract stores.
We recommend the division implement annual customer service training, establish data-driven criteria for store placement, track purchases by zip code, and identify those stores that would benefit the state if expanded, relocated, closed, or converted to contract stores.
While it is not possible to predict exact outcomes of privatizing Idaho's liquor system, the report discusses the potential impact of privatization, assuming the state would want to continue receiving the same level of revenue from the sale of liquor. We have developed an interactive worksheet (available on our website) that allows users to modify the values of our assumptions to further understand the likely impact of privatization.
We thank division officials and staff for their cooperation and assistance throughout this study. The report includes responses from the Liquor Division and the Governor.
I have lived in Idaho since the late 1970's and always thought it rather odd folks had to go to a state liquor store to buy liquor. Even more odd what the inability to buy it by the quart. Why the State of Idaho is in the retail liquor business is indeed a strange statutory custom. The State could still collect the sin tax levied against liquor and remain revenue neutral without the cost of running retail stores and distribution. This report is a welcome sign that I might be able to go to my local grocery store and buy my liquor or anywhere licensed to sell the stuff. Time for the Idaho Legislature to move into the 21st century.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 10:44 AM