New research confirms privatizing liquor sales would mean loss of millions in government revenue

A new financial analysis provides clear evidence that privatizing public liquor stores would mean millions in lost revenue for the province’s families and communities.

The report, A Profitable Brew: A Financial Analysis of the SLGA and Its Potential Privatization was released by Alberta-based Parkland Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) in Regina December 3, 2014.

“This research shows that SLGA is more effective at generating revenue than the private liquor system in Alberta, and details how much revenue we stand to lose through privatization,” says Donna Christianson, chair of the union’s SLGA negotiating committee.

Even the seemingly small step of allowing four new private liquor stores to open – two in Regina and two in Saskatoon – will mean lost revenue of approximately $3.5 - $7.5 million each year, according to the report.

That’s money SLGA could have earned if the new liquor stores were publicly-owned. Over the years, those losses will grow, depriving Saskatchewan families of tens of millions of dollars that could help fund needed services.

“Did government know how much revenue was going to be lost by licensing private stores?  Did they weigh that when they set a new policy direction?  Where do they propose to make up the lost revenue?” asks Christianson.

The research also debunks the government’s assertion that it is a choice between building hospitals or liquor stores.  “A public liquor store is not a drain on the province’s finances. It is a money-making asset,” Christianson points out.

SLGA earns more than enough revenue to cover all of the costs of building additional stores, according to the report. No public tax dollars are needed to construct new liquor outlets.  Each additional new store would easily pay for itself, and still earn enough money to help build new hospitals, schools, and long-term care homes.

“The government has been vague about the amount of money the province would lose as a result of privatizing liquor sales.  This research demonstrates that millions of dollars are at stake.  While government decision-makers may be willing to forego this income, it is families that rely on publicly-funded services, like schools, parks, hospitals, and long term care homes, who will be hurt by the loss of revenue,” says Christianson.

For more information contact:

Susan Dusel
Communications Officer
(306) 775-7249 (bus)
(306) 520-4930 (cell)