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Governor's Budget Office Recommends Increased Funding for State Liquor Agency

Bart Everson via Creative Commons

Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s state budget office has made a list of recommendations to shape up the state’s liquor agency. The recommendations are intended to deal with declining employee morale and poor management of inventory and distribution in Utah liquor stores.

The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget did a months-long review of the Utah Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control that was released Tuesday. GOMB Executive Director Kristen Cox says as a result of the review, they’re asking the state legislature to bump up employee salaries and restore the half a million dollars that was cut from the DABC budget last year.

“They do have a big impact on our state budget, and they’ve been generating revenue and we want to make sure that the resources are there to meet that demand,” Cox says.

Alcohol sales in the state have gone up 50 percent in the last five years. Most of the revenue goes back into the state’s general fund, the school lunch program and public safety.

Republican State Representative Curt Oda says the recommendation is a good start.  But he says many employees are still hesitant to come forward and speak up about working conditions.  

“Money is always a little bit of a morale booster, but I think if the governor’s team really needs the answers they need to make sure that these employees understand that they will not be retaliated against,” Oda says.

As part of the review Cox’ team interviewed about 120 employees and management. Cox’s office also recommends local store managers have more control of what products they carry and when. She says they’ll be they’ll be working with DABC to monitor their progress over the next few months.  

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