Hot Dish Politics: Sunday liquor, budget equity

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS and BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 25, 2013 - 9:51 PM

A bid to sell liquor on Sundays is back at the Minnesota Legislature, though its prospects don’t look good.

Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, whose bill was heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday, said he doesn’t expect the proposal, which would allow sales on Sundays and major holidays, to come to a vote.

“It’s a big change in state policies and historic state traditions,” said Reinert, who is pushing for Minnesota to join the 38 states that now allow Sunday liquor sales.

Opponents, who have successfully fended off the proposal for years, say it would put smaller liquor stores at a disadvantage and do little to raise extra revenue for the state.

“Our customers have never asked us for Sunday sales,” said Maryann Campo, who opened Minneapolis’s South Lyndale Liquors with her husband in 1975. “The reason we oppose Sunday liquor sales is we don’t feel that it is financially feasible to do.”

Reinert says it’s time to move past the old blue laws, that consumers now make most of their alcohol purchases on the weekend.

“If you are successful in running your business, you can come up with a model that is a successful model for you and it doesn’t involve us telling you when you have to be closed,” Reinert said.

For those who don’t like the idea of liquor sales on any given Sunday, state Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, is offering an alternative: Allow sales on the one Sunday that really matters — Super Bowl Sunday.

“It seems like it’s common sense,” said Garofalo, who has voted against Sunday sales in the past. Super Bowl Sunday, he contends, generates extra sales and revenue that make opening a seventh day worthwhile. Garofalo has asked the House Commerce Committee to consider his Super Bowl beer bill for inclusion in the House omnibus liquor bill.

JENNIFER BROOKS

Clergy urge fair budget solution

A group of clergy and religious leaders on Monday urged state leaders and the business community to seek a budget solution that is fair to low-income Minnesotans.

Calling DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget proposal “a strong step in the right direction,” the group called for an end to corporate tax loopholes. The change could flood state coffers with new money and prevent many of the reductions that have hurt low-income Minnesotans, the group said.

“It is our call from God, it is our obligation as Minnesotans,” said the Rev. Paul Slack, president of ISAIAH, a group pushing for racial and economic equality.

The group presented a letter signed by more than 100 religious leaders, mostly from the Twin Cities, in support of their vision. The letter went to legislators, state officials and business leaders.

BAIRD HELGESON

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