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Republican Senators in Georgia are blocking a vote on a proposal that would allow local communities the option to let retailers sell alcohol on Sundays.
Currently Georgia is one of only three states that prohibit the retail sale of liquor, wine, and beer on Sunday. Despite this outdated regulation the state does surprisingly allow alcohol to be sold on Sundays at bars and restaurants.
Heartland’s friend and President of American’s For Tax Reform, Grover Norquist sent a frank letter to the Georgia legislature earlier this week in support of the local option. In it Grover rightly takes these “conservative” lawmakers to the woodshed. He writes,
“The small handful of senators that seek to preserve the status quo by blocking an open debate on the matter of Sunday sales referenda are effectively supporting greater government regulation and unnecessary intervention in the private economy – which Georgia voters issued a resounding rebuke of last November. Worse, opponents of SB 10 and HB 69 are opposing common-sense legislation that would reduce the threat of tax increases on Georgia families and employers.”
The state is currently facing a budget deficit that could reach $2 billion in fiscal year 2012 which makes it increasingly more important that lawmakers seek to help foster economic growth by expanding markets rather than restricting them with puritan era regulations.
I pointed out in a recent Research & Commentary piece that,
“A 2007 study published in the National Tax Journal found the average state experienced 4.1 percent and 5.2 percent per-capita increases for the sale of beer and spirits, respectively, after the repeal of Sunday sales bans. Repeal could bring Georgia $3 to $5 million in additional tax revenue per year.
Repealing this outdated regulatory obstacle is an effective and economically stimulating way of generating revenue. The status quo leaves on the table millions of dollars in revenues that would be derived from increased economic activity, and it places unreasonable burdens on taxpayers and businesses.”
The numbers are clear; there is no reasonable basis for government to allow the sale of a legal product only six of seven days a week. Instead of state’s continuing to tie one hand behind their backs when it comes to balancing their state’s budget, lawmakers need to be focusing on market-freeing ideas like this one rather than resorting to raising taxes.