From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
Mayor Vincent Gray unveiled his proposed 2013 budget at a news conference on March 23, and one surprising provision was the extension of alcohol service by one hour. The Washington Blade’s Mark Lee summarizesthe proposal nicely.
Gray’s proposal would permit District bars and restaurants to operate (and serve alcohol) until 3 am on weekdays and 4 am on weekends. It would also allow retail liquor sales to begin at 7 am, two hours earlier than what currently stands, Monday through Saturday (same for beer and wine sales at grocery stores). Sunday liquor sales would still be prohibited, unfortch.
Increasing alcohol sales is a tried-and-true method of revenue generation for most cities, the District no exception. This proposal — if accepted — is estimated to bring in an additional $5.3 million in sales tax revenue. The alternative to initiatives like this, Lee reminds us, is higher taxes on what is already among the highest-taxed locales in the country.
Reaction to Gray’s proposal by the public and the City Council has been calm so far, but both bodies will weigh in on the measure before its potential adoption this summer.