Monday, March 16, 2009

Texas Considers Lifting Restrictions on Alcohol Laws to Raise Revenue


Texas Governor Rick Perry recently declared that he would not be accepting $555 million of the funds that are being offered by the federal government through its stimulus package. Specifically, he joins several other state executives in fighting the changes that would need to be made to state unemployment laws if the money was accepted. So, the state legislature is now looking for some other ways to improve the status of the coffers in Austin. One of the suggestions being proposed is the repeal of the state's Blue Laws, which ban the sale of hard liquor on Sundays and restrict the purchase of beer and wine until after noon on that day. The question is -- would this change really result in more funds for Texas government?

State Representative Ana Hernandez asserts that lifting the Blue Laws would result in an increase of $5-8 million in tax revenue. Voters who support the measure like the convenience of being able to purchase alcohol any day of the week. Also, they appreciate the fact that if the need to purchase their beer for the Texans or Cowboys game is overlooked on Saturday, they will not have to miss kickoff as they wait for 12:00pm to arrive on Sunday.

Opponents of the change believe that sales of alcohol will not increase, but simply be spread over seven days instead of six. And, owner of Spec's Liquor Warehouse has concern for the people who work for him. He says, "We don’t want to necessarily work another day. It’s not good for my employees. They need a day off.” Long gone are the days in which all retail was closed on Sundays to allow for a time of rest and reconnection with family. Will liquor stores soon join with the growing trend?

Texas is not alone in reconsidering its alcohol laws for the purpose of gaining desperately-needed revenue. Other states are also considering opening the doors of its liquor stores on Sundays or making wine available in more locations, such as grocery stores. With all indications showing that alcohol consumption rises during tough economic times, perhaps they are onto something.

At Bertolino LLP, we urge you to follow all laws regarding alcohol, from minimum age to purchase to staying away from your car if you have been drinking. If your activities involving alcohol have found you on the wrong side of the law, our criminal defense attorneys can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today.

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