Could Liquor License Renewal Fees Increase?

24 02 2009

That’s one of Jennifer Granholm’s proposal’s for balancing the budget.  I saw this story in the Jackson Citizen-Patriot late last week.

Local bar owners are not happy with what Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to serve up in 2010 — a doubling of their annual liquor license renewal fees.

Granholm is seeking to raise the fees — which haven’t been increased since 1976 — as a way to help solve the state’s massive budget deficit.

“It’s a 100 percent tax increase,” said Jeff Veach, owner of Veach’s Office Bar in downtown Jackson.

So, it’s been 30 years since there’s been an increase in liquor license renewal fees.  30 years!  That seems like a long time.  With the rate of inflation, a doubling of the fees seems cheap.  It sucks that it could happen now when everyone is struggling.  It’s kind of a vicious cycle.  If business fees aren’t increased, then they’ll have to find another stream of revenue such as property or income tax hikes, but it just seems like doing business in Michigan is getting harder and harder.




4 responses

24 02 2009

She’s proposed this every year, I think, and it doesn’t usually get to a vote in either chamber.

The carrot for instituting the higher fee — allowing Sunday morning sales and 4 a.m. bar closing licenses — didn’t go anywhere last term. The House brought it up 3 times and couldn’t even get enough Democratic support to pass it.

It never went anywhere in the Senate.

24 02 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

I blogged about this last year, but I’m a big fan of 4 AM licenses with restrictions. I came from a city that had a 4 AM zone and it worked really well. The zone was made up of the majority of downtown where there was a high concentration of bars. There were very few, if any problems at closing time and there were very few, if any DUI’s. When they tried to expand the zone, they ran into problems because it spread out police. I think a 4 AM zone in the larger communities with higher license fees is a great idea and a better way to raise funds than a blanket increase.

Sunday morning sales restrictions are outdated. It’s time for that to change.

24 02 2009

I agree on both counts. In fact, I don’t see any probelm with 24-7, the way it is done in Nevada and a handful of local areas in other states.

DUI penalties are just as severe in Sin City as anywhere. If later closings truly make DUIs and alcoholism rates skyrocket, the stats should be there (and they aren’t).

But listening to radio interviews about the issue this week, I don’t think it will get much support from the legislature. And the beverage association thinks the late-night fee is too high. Plus, the local option in the bill means plenty of cities will be able to nix any attempt to move back closing hours.

Even if this passed, I don’t think it would bring in anywhere near as much money as the governor thinks. Plenty of neighborhood residents would oppose any bars that wanted to keep pouring until 4 a.m.

1 12 2009

Carlin, Edwards, Brown & Howe, PLLC

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