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Disingenuous and self-serving

By Scott Tibbs, June 13, 2013

The president of the Indiana Beverage Alliance recently wrote a guest editorial that was published in various newspapers around the state, defending the state's alcohol laws - specifically the ban on Sunday sales of alcohol - by making the argument that such laws prevent alcohol abuse.

This is a disingenuous, self-serving argument. The IBA's purpose in defending the state's "blue laws" is to protect liquor stores from competition, not to prevent alcohol abuse or prevent watering down regulations for the public good.

Liquor stores are closed on Sundays, while grocery stores are not. If the ban in Sunday sales was repealed, they would have to open on Sundays in order to be competitive, and with that comes costs such as salary and utility expenses. So the liquor aisles of supermarkets that are open twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week sit idle so the liquor stores do not need to compete. This is corporate welfare by regulation, nothing more.

In the years after Prohibition was repealed, the laws might have made sense. The laws do not make sense in 2013, when bars are open on Sundays and people can easily stock up on alcohol on Friday or Saturday. Alcohol abuse is not going to increase if the Sunday sales ban is repealed, and families will not see a significant portion of their breadwinner's earnings going to "demon rum" instead of paying for food, clothing and shelter.

It should not be the role of state government to play favorites in the market with laws and regulations that tilt the playing field in favor of some businesses over others. The "blue laws" have been out of date for decades now and serve only as regulatory corporate welfare. This should be fixed, both for business and consumers. The Republican Party has a supermajority on both houses and a Republican governor, so there is no reason this should not be repealed.