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Indiana Legislators Will Finally Take Up a Bill to End the Ban on Sunday Alcohol Sales

Liquor Store
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

It was just about one year ago the Indiana General Assembly refused to give a hearing to a bill, which would allow Sunday alcohol sales leaving Indiana and Connecticut as the only states with such a ban. A few months later, Connecticut lifted their ban thus, leaving Indiana as the only hold out on lifting the ban. That could finally change as the House public policy committee scheduled a hearing on a bill to lift the ban and allow carry-out liquor sales. No word yet on the result of that hearing, but the bill has gained a lot of momentum over the last year and supporters believe that allowing Sunday carry-out alcohol will increase state tax revenue – but would it really?

Last year, the Indiana Legislative Services Agency, a nonpartisan research department, wrote an impact statement estimating the tax revenues generated by Sunday alcohol sales would be minimal at best. The statement also suggested that people wouldn’t spend any more money on Sunday, they would just shift their buying habits, but not all agree that would be the case.

Liquor store owners have been firmly against allowing Sunday sales for years because they say their overhead costs would increase dramatically and hurt their ability to compete with grocery stores that are already open seven days a week.

Whether or not allowing Sunday sales will increase tax revenue is not really the issue. It really just makes sense for the convenience of the consumers. The only overhead costs for liquor store owners would be paying someone to work in the store on Sunday. They will likely generate enough sales to justify that cost in my opinion.

The bottom line is the fact that this Sunday ban is archaic and completely out of step with the rest of the country. Lifting the ban does not require liquor stores to be open on Sunday, but if they want to remain competitive they will. I think they will be surprised at the results. We’ll keep you posted.

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