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Don’t count Sunday liquor tax revenues just yet

Date Published: 02/05/2011


The latest debate over Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota has featured claims that Minnesota is somehow missing out on $10 million in tax revenues.


I've debunked parts of this claim via twitter and comments sections, but thought it worth a post because this shows how interest groups can use data to mislead the public and policy makers. I wrote about this when it came up last session and won't repeat myself here.

Let's focus on this commentary by the Distilled Spirits Council published in the Strib with the subhead: "The Sunday ban on liquor sales costs state an estimated $10 million." The author says:

Colorado, the most recent state to enact Sunday sales, even saw its 2008 alcohol excise tax revenue collection increase by 6 percent despite the toll of the recession.

Well, not quite. Colorado's 2008 alcohol tax revenue, according to the state's annual report, only increased by 1.5 percent over 2007. But since Sunday sales took effect July 1, 2008, perhaps the author meant the 2009 fiscal year ending July, 2009. A Denver news report says:

Colorado State Treasury

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