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Support Senate Bill 10 to Allow Local-Option Sunday Sales of Distilled Spirits!
An Open Letter to the Georgia General Assembly
March 3, 2011
On behalf of the National Taxpayers Union’s (NTU’s) nearly 8,300 members in Georgia, I urge you to support Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), which would empower counties, if authorized by popular referendums, to permit sales of distilled spirits on Sundays.
Georgians are looking to their elected officials to promote economic prosperity, which is assured by keeping taxes low, maintaining manageable expenditures, and doing away with burdensome regulations. With a major effort to reform Georgia’s tax code underway, and recent Senate passage of an NTU-backed, constitutional tax and expenditure limitation, it only makes sense for the General Assembly to also examine regulatory policies to determine whether they are effective and still necessary today.
Although “Blue Laws” were widespread in America during the early 20th century, one by one the states recognized that such strictures ought to be adapted to reflect the more interconnected 21st century economy. Currently, 36 states, including Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, allow some form of Sunday sales of distilled spirits. Since 2002 alone, 14 states have joined these ranks. The time has come to let Georgia communities decide whether or not they wish to have seven-day-a-week sales of distilled spirits.
Sunday sales will give Georgia consumers and visitors added convenience for shopping, and will also provide benefits for the economy and the state. Increased sales means increased economic activity, which translates into more jobs in the retail industry and more revenue for the state without the need to raise taxes. With state unemployment hovering around 10 percent and budget deficits in excess of $1 billion, these benefits should not be ignored. Nonetheless, SB 10 is carefully drafted so that counties and their citizens can decide the issue based on their own preferences.
Georgia’s taxpayers are counting on you to look after their long-term interests. You can do so by giving them the choice to modify the prohibition on Sunday sales of distilled spirits. SB 10 passed the State and Local Government Committee by a vote of 5-1. A similar bill, House Bill 69, passed the House Regulated Industries Committee unanimously on February 9, 2011. The next logical steps are for the entire General Assembly to vote “yes” on SB 10.