ABC Board approves 5 percent increase on price of liquor

ABC Board approves 5 percent increase on price of liquor

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, also known as the ABC Board, voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a 5 percent increase on markup prices for liquor sales.

Dean Argo, government relations manager for Alabama's ABC Board, says the increase will go into effect on Nov. 1.

The board has been looking to make this change since March. The increase brings the mark-up price up from 30 percent to 35 percent.

According to the board back in March, the 5 percent increase will affect a $30 bottle of liquor approximately $1, meaning it would cost the consumer a dollar more to purchase the bottle. According to Argo, sales tax (6 percent) and state tax (56 percent) will remain the same.

According to Argo, beside the benefit for district attorneys and the court system, the change also saves the board from having to deal with bills pushing for price increases from individual counties. He said counties like Marshall and Calhoun, that already passed legislation for a 5 percent tax increased, motivated a slew of other counties to push for legislation to do the same.

"We asked for the legislature to not look at this county by county," Argo said. "We asked them to look at this as a statewide increase. Not because we believe in a tax increase, but because we felt like the prices should be stable throughout the state."

For Barry Matson, executive director of the Alabama District Attorney's Association, the revenue the increase will bring in is essential for Alabama's struggling district attorney offices to be able to maintain the bare minimum of their duties.

"This makes all the difference in the world to us," Matson said. "We're still in the fiscal budget from last year, and I'm concerned about payroll this year. We had one of our DA's from down in Enterprise at the vote this morning, and he's had to lay off seven people."

Argo said, based on last year's sales, this increase is expected to bring in $8.2 million.

"Six million of that will go to the DA's and the remaining two-point-two million will go to the court system," Argo said.

The fiscal year for Alabama starts on Oct. 1. Argo said stores will change their retail prices to accommodate the markup on Nov. 1.

The last time the board increased the markup was in 1983.

Argo says the money this increase will bring in has been earmarked in the general fund budget for district attorneys and the court system.

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