Monday, April 28, 2014

Why can't Johnny read or do math — Part 3

If you remember in Part 2 of this saga, one anonymous poster — we’ll call him Business Rep 23 — was not able to figure out how Washington State collected more money after privatization. He couldn’t add the numbers from the Washington State Department of Revenue and Washington State LCB, and he said that the money from the old state stores wasn’t included.  If you look at the WSLCB Annual Reports, none of them list “Store Profit.”  It’s just part of their income after expenses and since they turn over everything else to the State or Local governments, they seem to not feel the need to do reporting the PA way.

Let’s see what the real numbers were in Washington, and how they compared pre and post-privatization. The last annual report before privatization was for FY 2012, which went from June 1, 2011 to May 31, 2012. This would include the big run on liquor that happened before privatization took effect on June 1, 2012 and the auction sales of the old state stores.

Total liquor sales were $900.47 million or about 42% of what PA does (it bears repeating: Washington only privatized liquor sales; they already had private wine sales). Washington State LCB does collect the beer and wine taxes, and some tobacco taxes too, but those obviously weren’t affected by privatization. If you do include all of that, the total is $448.7 million returned to the state. That number is what Business Rep 23 and his cohorts like to use when comparing Washington’s old liquor income to Washington’s new liquor income.  The key number here would be $448.7 million turned into the state for everything, including any profit made in the old state stores.

Now let’s look at the 2013 Annual Report, the first one after privatization.  There is no income from
Gross Liquor Sales any longer, but the License Fees have gone up from $33.91 million to $257.6 million and that the total returned by the WSLCB  to the State is now $318.32 million.  (License Fees are the actual cost of licenses, plus the 17% Retail License fee and the 10% Wholesale License fee that were added as part of the privatization bill.)

AHA! you say, that’s $130 million less than the year before, Business Rep 23 was right!  Er, well, no, he isn’t.  When Washington State was the only source to buy liquor, they collected all the state liquor taxes: the Spirits Sales Tax and the “Spirits Liter Tax.” But now that Washington State has a private system, those tax collections are now part of the Department of Revenue, and not the WSLCB. (Imagine: the Department of Revenue collects the taxes, instead of some dinky enforcement bureau. Makes sense, right?)

To get the total tax numbers, you have to look at the spreadsheet the Department of Revenue so kindly keeps updated here.  Looking at the Summary FY2013 tab and adding the monthly tax collections, you see approximately $228.6 million was collected from consumer sales and $37.3 million was collected from licensees through distributor sales, a total of $265.9 million.

This gives Washington State approximately $318 million from the WSLCB, and $266 million from taxes, for a grand total of $584 million in liquor/booze revenue.  Even Business Rep 23 has to admit that $584 million is more than $448 million. Okay, he doesn’t have to, and I’m sure he will make a bunch of statements trying to tear that fact down without any proof, but…come on. $584 million is at least 23% more than the $448 million that was collected the year before, just like I said in part 2.

So to sum it all up:
The WSLCB Beer and Wine taxes, tobacco seizures, other income, and all liquor revenue including store “profit” collected in FY2012 before privatization resulted in a total of $448.7 million being returned to the state, while in FY 2013, the first year after privatization, it was $584 million.

The moral of the story?  
Don’t believe Business Rep 23 or anybody else unless they have the facts to back up their statements.

No comments: