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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, June 13, 2019 1:00 am

Furthermore ...

No revenue boost from Sunday sales

Hoosiers worried that Sunday carryout alcohol sales would mean more alcohol consumed should be relieved by tax collection reports. Revenue data in the year following the March 2018 sales expansion shows no tax windfall from beer, wine and liquor sales. 

In April, state officials estimated $20 million would be collected from last July through the end of this month. That's a modest increase from the $19.2 million collected in the 2018 fiscal year, but actual revenue collections for alcohol sales through April were down 1.2% compared with the previous year.

The author of the Sunday sales legislation in the 2018 session of the Indiana General Assembly never promised additional revenue.

“It's all about customer convenience,” said state Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette. “It's not an economic development tool.

“The states that went seven days versus six had always advised ... when I reached out to them that, in the end result, you do the same amount of sales in seven that you do in six.”

Reports from retailers show that to be the case. Todd Antz, who operates liquor stores in Clarksville and New Albany, told CNHI newspapers' statehouse bureau he hired new employees to cover Sundays, but the extra day allows him to cut overtime costs.

“For us, it's pretty much been a wash,” Antz said. “We've seen a decrease in sales on Saturdays and Mondays. Sunday just kind of makes up for it. It's been relatively flat for us overall.”

The results are contrary to the claims that Sunday sales would push package-store operators out of business.

CNHI reports there are 1,043 liquor store permits today, compared with 1,044 two years ago.