Ban of Sunday alcohol sales being debated by Texas lawmakers

AUSTIN, TX - Eliminating Texas's outdated law that bans Sunday alcohol sales will generate much-needed revenue for the state and increase consumer convenience, according to Distilled Spirits Council Chief Economist David Ozgo, who testified today before the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee in support of a bill permitting Sunday alcohol sales.

House Bill 863, sponsored by Representative Roland Gutierrez (San Antonio), would allow package stores to open on Sundays for the first time since Prohibition.

"Across the country, states are modernizing their liquor laws to boost state coffers and increase consumer convenience," said Distilled Spirits Council Chief Economist David Ozgo, noting that since 2002, 14 states have passed legislation allowing Sunday sales of distilled spirits bringing the total to 36 states.

"Earlier this month, Texas's neighbor Arkansas became the latest state to repeal its ban on Sunday sales by giving communities the right to vote on it.   While every state is different, the one thing that they all have in common is that consumers want convenience -- a factor that has driven the success of Sunday sales around the country," he said.

Ozgo said he has projected Sunday openings would generate between $93 and $115 million in new sales for package stores if enacted statewide.  From these new sales, the state would realize between $8.7 and $10.8 million in new tax revenues from increased sales and excise tax collections.

He cited a separate economic analysis of 12 states that began allowing Sunday sales between 2002 -2005, which showed Sunday sales generated $212 million in new sales in 2006, a 5-8 percent increase in new retail sales.

"These Prohibition-era Sunday sales bans no longer make sense in today's marketplace.  In our modern economy where two-income families are the norm, Sunday has emerged as the second busiest shopping day of the week," Ozgo stated.

Ozgo concluded by stressing that the legislation will not force package store owners to open, but rather provide them with more choices.  "Sunday sales simply give retailers economic flexibility.  During these tough times, legislators should be supporting enterprising retailers who want to grow their business, not forcing them to turn away customers," he said.

The Distilled Spirits Council also testified in support of House Bill 815, sponsored by Representative Veronica Gonzales (McAllen).  HB 815 would allow package stores in the 14 Texas counties adjacent to the Mexico border to be open seven days a week.

The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States.