Monthly Economic Report: Liquor Taxes and Fees Produce $215 Million in Revenue Over Five Years

Audit Date: September 22, 2011
Audit Categories
  • Financial
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2011

Contact: Brian Dries

Liquor Taxes and Fees Produce $215 Million
in Revenue Over Five Years

Controller’s economic report highlights revenues generated
by City’s establishments that serve, produce and store alcohol

Click here to view economic report

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz’ monthly economic report released today finds that the City’s restaurants, bars, clubs and many others have generated $215 million over the last five years from liquor licensing fees and the liquor by the drink tax.

The majority of this revenue, $209.8 million, was generated by the 10 percent liquor by the drink tax that is on every sale at retail of wine, liquor or malt and brewed beverages by any person or establishment with a liquor license. All of this tax revenue was remitted to the Philadelphia School District.

The remaining $5.6 million was a result of payments the City received from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) for a portion of the money generated by liquor licenses and permits issued in Philadelphia. The PLCB collects the fees from each license issued and then keeps $100 from each fee for administrative costs before returning the remaining amount to the City.

There are numerous types of liquor licenses and permits issued by the state, and the annual fees can range from as low as $150 for a club license or as high as $700 for a hotel or restaurant license. All of the revenues from these fees are put into the City’s general fund.

Along with highlighting these specific tax revenues and fees, the Controller’s economic report looks at the declining tax revenues for the start of the fiscal year in the City’s wage/earnings/NPT and sales tax collections. The total City and PICA collections for the first two months of FY12 for wage/earnings/NPT were $4.79 million less than what was collected in the same two months of FY11. Sales tax collections over this same period were $3.5 million less for FY12 than in FY11.

While monthly collection comparisons need to be watched, collections for a single month can be a misleading indicator due to monthly variability in collections and changes in revenue procedures. A more relevant indicator is to compare the first quarter revenue collections which will be highlighted in our October monthly economic report.

The Controller’s economic report is compiled on a monthly basis and includes an Economic Snapshot and Forecast, as well as real estate information and other local statistics. These reports are circulated every month to assist key decision makers in understanding and anticipating local and national economic trends. Both of these documents are a useful tool for policy makers and analysts in understanding our regional and local economy.