DISCUS

SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES INCREASES STATE REVENUES AND CONSUMER CONVENIENCE - Legislation could generate $7.5 to $14 million in new tax revenues

March 11, 2003 07:00 PM
March 12, 2003 – The state of Washington could generate between $7.5 and $14 million in new tax revenue if proposed legislation is passed to fully allow Sunday sales of distilled spirits, according to an economic analysis by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. “At a time when Washington is facing a huge budget deficit, Sunday liquor sales will bring in millions to state coffers while significantly enhancing consumer convenience,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy. Companion bills, HB 2131 and SB 5982, as introduced would direct the Washington Liquor Control Board to open at least 50 state-operated stores by Nov. 1, 2003 with additional stores phased-in over the year. Cressy pointed out that with the majority of today’s families comprised of dual income adults, Sunday has become the second busiest shopping day of the week. “It is unfortunate that in 2003, Washington consumers are still prisoners to these archaic Blue Laws,” stated Cressy. Currently, a combination of high excise taxes and limited shopping opportunities has resulted in decreased state liquor sales. Many consumers either choose wine or beer, which are both available for sale on Sunday, or simply make their spirits purchases in a neighboring state. “Science tells us that alcohol is alcohol.” said Cressy. “Consumers should be able to have the same access to all of their beer, wine and spirits products.” Washington is just one of a number of states including New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware that are reconsidering their Prohibition-era Blue Laws. Last year, two other control states, Pennsylvania and Oregon, passed laws permitting Sunday sales of liquor, bringing the number of states that permit Sunday sales of liquor to 24. “Pennsylvania and Oregon are already seeing an immediate boost to state tax revenues by opening their doors on Sundays,” said Cressy. “Not merely a shift of sales from Saturday to Sunday, as some opponents might try to suggest.” Cressy noted in Pennsylvania sales are up 7.4 percent, compared to 3.4 percent during the same period last year. In addition, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission just recently reported that spirits revenues are already $6.5 million ahead of projections. Cressy stated extending sales of liquor one more day of the week is a responsible and innovative way for states to raise much-needed revenues without further increasing taxes. An analysis of government data on alcohol-related fatalities shows no statistical difference in states that allow Sunday liquor sales compared to those that do not. CONTACT: Lisa Hawkins or Frank Coleman Telephone: 202-682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:
 

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