Taxes and One-Stop-Shopping

As we all know, Washington is not the only state that controls the sale and distribution of alcohol. Each of the 19 (1) “control states” have different practices that distinguish them. Here, and in future posts under “States that Regulate . . . and Control” we will provide bits of information on the control states and how they operate.

  • IDAHO – What is distinguishing Idaho from other control states right now? TAXES. There has reportedly been an influx of Washington customers who are traveling to Idaho to avoid paying the higher liquor taxes in Washington. This has long been a customary practice in the Northeast, where a shorter commute can make a trip across state lines worth the few dollars of savings. Here in Washington, however, only the eastern-most residents benefit.
  • PENNSYLVANIA – With the current drive to privatize in Washington, it is interesting to remember that the state could always impose more control: the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board recently rolled out its new wine kiosks, where one must scan an ID, pose for the video camera, and take a breathalyzer before purchasing wine from an automated machine. In Pennsylvania, wine and liquor are sold from state stores, so this provides consumers the “opportunity” to buy wine in a grocery store – one stop shopping at its best?

(1) Alcohol is regulated at the county level in Maryland; Worcester and Montgomery counties both control alcohol sales.