The Oregon Liquor Control Commission
has extended its "temporary" 50 cent surcharge on each bottle of distilled spirits
. The surcharge was supposed to end June 30. But thanks to a unanimous commission vote this week, the surcharge will now be in effect until at least June 30, 2011.
The reasons for extending the surcharge two more years? To generate an estimated $27 million over that time period for the OLCC, which — like all state agencies — is feeling the budget crunch.
“We don't take this action lightly, we realize these are tough economic times,” said Steve Pharo, OLCC director via press release on June 4. “The commission is looking at this increase as a way to safeguard valuable services provided by the OLCC as well as avoiding a substantive compensation loss to liquor agents.”
The decision came before the OLCC went before the legislative Ways and Means committee yesterday. Two of the hot topics were the potential closure of a Salem field office and the possible reduction of commissions for the liquor agents that represent the OLCC. The surcharge became the OLCC's lifeline for helping both liquor vendors stay in business and keeping its field offices open.