Idaho lawmakers debate liquor budget, new stores

Posted at 10:20 AM, Mar 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-08 12:20:29-05

Idaho's budget-setting committee has agreed to fund two new state-run liquor stores despite one lawmaker who made several attempts to convince the panel to reject the move.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the state's Liquor Division budget on Wednesday after conducting seven different votes.

The committee took the same amount time setting the liquor division's $21.4 million budget as it did setting the state's $1.7 billion public education budget earlier this year.

The Spokesman-Review reports included in the budget is funding for two new stores that will be based in southwestern Idaho.

However, Republican Sen. Fred Martin opposed the move, arguing Boise and the surrounding area already have enough liquor stores.

Idaho lawmakers haven't increased the number of liquor stores operating throughout the state since 2008.

The budget proposal still needs to pass through the House and Senate, but bills are rarely changed after leaving the budget committee.