Senator Ross Romero just learned of Governor Gary Herbert’s decision to authorize the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to reassign $1.4 million in agency funds to keep nine of ten state liquor stores open that were originally slated for closure. He commends Governor Herbert and DABC for their efforts in finding a preferred solution to DABC’s budget shortfall.
Senator Romero is aware of the public’s concern about closing state liquor stores. He shares the expressed concerns of over consumption and prevention of under-age drinking, but that is not what the closing of stores was addressing.
The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, along with other state agencies, was ordered to cut their budget by 7.5%, or $2.2 million. In order to meet those cuts, the DABC was going to close 10 stores that make a profit for the state of nearly $20 million annually.
During the past few months, Senator Romero has questioned the wisdom in closing 10 stores that make $20 million in profit annually in order to save just over $2 million this year. In addition to the unfortunate monetary loss, about 100 Utahns would have lost their jobs, workers who may have turned to state assistance to make ends meet.
Senator Romero has been exploring other sensible solutions to avoid the store closures, and he is pleased to now learn that nine stores will remain open for business.