Tuesday's meeting of the state House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee mostly covered the Liquor Control Board's plans for implementing marijuana sales. The meeting kicked off, though, with a discussion on liquor loss rates (shoplifting) at retail stores and other liquor issues.
Committee chairman Chris Hurst asked lobbyists Greg Hanon, representing Costco, and Steve Gano, representing Wal-Mart, to come forward and answer question about liquor loss rates and liquor taxes. That's when Rep. Steve Kirby (D-29) decided to bring up a "pet peeve" of his: the fact that many stores display liquor taxes on their price tags, but not the stores' markups.
Kirby said to the lobbyists, "I can't tell you how many times somebody goes to the store and buys a bottle of liquor and, 'Boy, you guys at the state, look at that big old tax you put on there,' and, you know, 'that wasn't like that before, it's there now.' Well, that's because it was - basically, that was the state's profit margin," and retailers "are deliberately shining a light on that in an effort to put pressure on us to lower taxes on it."
He added, "The only thing that doesn't show is the retailer's profit margin. So if we're going to have this full discussion about how much money everybody's bringing in as a result of the change in the law, why not mandate that we be totally transparent? Show the wholesale price, the retail price, and the taxes." You know, just like every commercial transaction you make.
Wal-Mart's Gano pushed back on the idea: "I'm just curious, Rep. Kirby, if my price tag is going to look like the sticker on purchasing a car if I had to put all those on there."
To Kirby, though, that's just an easy work-around, a matter of reducing the many items he imagines are crowding store price tags. "Well we could always eliminate some things that are on there now, or - then we could make it even shorter, if that's the issue."
You can watch the exchange yourself below:Posted by Adam Faber at September 12, 2013 08:24 AM | Email This