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A proposal that would give the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control a stable funding source is being revived.

State Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said circumstances forced her to withdraw her DABC funding bill during the 2016 legislative session, but she's ready to try again in 2017.

"This fight needs to happen," Mayne told members of the DABC's liquor commission on Tuesday. "We need to give you financial stability, and that is what this proposal will do."

Mayne said her bill will be almost identical to the one she brought forward last year that calls for setting the annual DABC budget at 13 percent of gross liquor-store sales. As sales increase, so would the budget to keep up with demand.

Mayne wants the additional money to be used to — among other things — raise the salaries of part-time employees, increase the number of full-time employees, provide employee training and supply sufficient security for stores.

There's plenty of money for such a proposal, she said.

During the past 12 months, retail sales of liquor in Utah reached more than $427.6 million, an increase of nearly 8 percent over the previous year. For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, however, the DABC will operate on about 11 percent of that total — $46.6 million.

Mayne said the big problem is that the DABC budget can change every year — depending on the whims of lawmakers. State law requires the DABC to return all its profits to the state, and the Legislature sets the department budget.

This year, employees received a 4 percent pay raise — 2 percent from the department and 2 percent given to all state employees.

But for part-time employees making $9.35 an hour, it doesn't help pay the bills, she said.

Mayne has an uphill battle as she will have to convince fellow lawmakers — most of whom are Mormon and eschew alcohol for religious reasons — that the state needs to run the state-owned liquor stores more efficiently.

Liquor is "an economic reality for Utah," she said, "and we need to make sure the service is good and that people are treated well."

Commissioner Olivia Agraz agreed.

"The state does so much with this money. We pay salaries and fund the school lunch program," Agraz said. "And it's the people running the stores that make it happen. Many of them have two or three jobs to make ends meet. We need to put these people first and foremost."

Sen Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, who has been assigned to oversee potential liquor law changes, also attended the commission meeting.

"I have the same objectives" as Mayne, he said, but "I am more inclined to work through issues in a slow and deliberate manner."

"We don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater when making changes," he told the commission. "Everything has tentacles" and when you try to correct one area it can affect other things.

"We'll take a look at Sen. Mayne's legislation," he added, but "[we will] fix things incrementally and hopefully not cause problems in other areas."