NY PASSES BUDGET BILL PERMITTING OPTIONAL SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES - State one step away from eliminating Archaic Blue Law

May 1, 2003 08:00 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation that would open the door to Sunday liquor and wine sales by permitting package store owners to decide which six days to operate passed the legislature today, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “New York consumers and package store owners may soon have a reason to toast,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, the trade association for the nation’s distillers supporting the change. “Archaic Blue Laws make no sense in today’s marketplace. Sunday has become the second busiest shopping day of the week and soon retailers will have the flexibility to meet this consumer demand.” Under a provision in the budget, wine and liquor store owners would get to choose any six days of the week to be open for business. Not since before prohibition have consumers been able to purchase wine and liquor products on Sundays in New York package stores. “I can’t wait for the day when I can put the ‘open’ sign in my window on Sunday,” said Craig Allen, owner of All Star Wines & Spirits in the capital district. “For years, I’ve been losing business from customers who had to walk past my store because the doors were locked.” The six day liquor and wine sale option had broad support from package store owners across the state including the members of the Empire Package Store Association. During budget negotiations, the Distilled Spirits Council provided data showing that permitting retailers the option to open on Sundays would generate $26.7 million in tax revenue for New York. The Council pointed out that New York loses more liquor sales to other states than any other state in the nation. Allowing package store owners to open on Sunday could help recapture lost sales from nearby states -- Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont -- that permit Sunday sales. New York is one of a growing national trend of states re-examining the rationale behind outdated Sunday sales prohibitions and other Blue Law restrictions as a way to benefit consumers while at the same time raising much needed revenues. Last year, Pennsylvania and Oregon passed laws permitting Sunday sales of liquor and other states, including Washington and Delaware, are also considering modernizing their Sunday sales laws. Since Pennsylvania’s law has been in effect, the state has reported dramatic sales increases. CONTACT: Frank Coleman or Lisa Hawkins Telephone: 202-682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:


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