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Governments cashing in on liquor sales

Liquor stores in the province were kept busy in the 2000-01 fiscal year, serving a total of 43.6 million customers, according to the Liquor Distribution Branch annual report.

Gross sales reached $1.7 billion, with 78 per cent of revenues coming from counter sales. The remaining 22 per cent was from sales to licensees.

Sales of alcoholic beverages enriched federal, provincial and local government coffers to the tune of $958 million in the last fiscal year, up from $928 million in 1999-2000. The provincial government benefited the most, receiving $742 million from LDB operations. Provincial government profits from operating LDB stores totalled $642 million, with another $99 million coming from social service tax revenues.

The federal government collected $113 million in GST, and $98 million in customs duties and excise taxes.

Municipal governments benefited mainly from property tax revenues, which reached $4.6 million in 2000-01.

With 43.6 million customers, and an adult population of roughly 3 million, this suggest that the average British Columbian made 14 trips to the liquor store in 2000-01.