(KCPW News) The fate of several liquor stores now rests in the hands of the Utah legislature. Democratic Senator Ben McAdams says six stores and six package agencies are at risk of being closed, because the funding to keep them open was not in the preliminary budget drafted by Republican leaders late last week.
“These are liquor stores that operate at a profit. So, really what’s happening is when they generate revenue, that revenue goes to the general fund, but the legislature has to approve sending it back to the liquor stores for operation,” says McAdams. “So, it’s not even really about finding the money, the money is generated by the stores themselves.”
McAdams says this is the same issue that arose last year that resulted in the Main Street store shuttering. If the state does not find $1.8 million by the end of the session, stores in Park City, the Avenues and on Foothill could all face a similar reality.
“It came forward as something that we expected to see funded and got pulled out at the last minute,” says McAdams. “I think there is still time; the final budget hasn’t been approved, so I think there’s still hope that we can get that in there. But I think it’s surprising to see it not in there at this late stage.”
Governor Gary Herbert’s spokeswoman told the Salt Lake Tribune that he will not let any liquor store close. The 2012 legislative session wraps up Thursday night.