Pennsylvania Kicks the Blues

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Pennsylvania Kicks the Blues

PITTSBURGH -- The Pennsylvania State Legislature on Monday is expected to pass a bill allowing, for the first time since Prohibition, limited Sunday hours for some state liquor stores.

Although the Keystone State still does not allow its convenience retailers to sell beer, wine or liquor -- liquor is sold through state-run stores, off-premise beer primarily through distributors and bars -- Pennsylvania will likely become part of a recent wave of states revising their blue laws.

The proposed law, which will permit ten percent of state-operated stores to remain open from noon to five p.m. on Sundays during a two-year test, comes at a time when Pennsylvania, like most other states, is facing yawning budget gaps caused by the recent recession.

For example, Oregon's passage of a similar bill on November 6 will raise an estimated $3 million in additional tax revenues for the state, and the Distilled Spirits Council estimates that Sunday sales in New York could add $36.6 million to the state's $650 million in annual liquor tax revenue.

The Distilled Spirits Council is currently leveraging budget shortfalls to lobby for Sunday sales in New York, Virginia, Washington State and Massachusetts.