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More states and communities are allowing liquor and alcohol sales on Sundays, even though studies show that business on that day actually results in a loss of money.
According to USAToday.com, 36 states now allow Sunday sales — some as early as 6 a.m. That is an increase of 14 states since 2002. But while the idea in some areas is to bring in more revenue, a number of studies show Sunday alcohol sales actually result in a loss of money.
“In states that have repealed Sunday liquor sale bans, many store owners and operators have opposed the move because they lose one day off in the process, or they’re forced to hire more workers to be able to open that day, regardless of whether revenue increases or is simply spread over seven days instead of six,” explains Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League (CAL) and president-elect of the American Council on Alcohol Problems.
He says the Connecticut Package Store Association estimates it would cost their stores about $14,000 each year just to add the extra day, so there are no guarantees that repealing so-called “blue” laws adds to tax revenues. “Where states have added Sunday sales, there typically is initially a five- to eight-percent increase in sales, but there is little data on the long-term sales trends,” he reports.
Creech also notes that with every added ounce of alcohol sold, there comes “the specter of increased societal cost brought on by more drunk driving, skyrocketing medical costs, and the growing need for money to treat alcohol addiction.”
“Even a five-percent increase in the consumption levels of a state increases societal cost per resident by some $25 a year,” the CAL executive director points out. “Now multiply that by the number of residences there are in any state, and you see how it can run up costs significantly for state budgets.”
In his opinion, perhaps the greatest concern that is often left out of this debate is the 15-percent decline in attendance among weekly churchgoers in states where blue laws have been repealed.
“Legislators and public policy makers need to recognize that a culture is not sustained only by its economy,” Creech contends. “I think Christ said it best when he said, ‘Man doesn’t live by bread alone,’ [Matthew 4:4] and our lives don’t consist simply in the things we possess.”
He believes churches provide an unprecedented service to communities and the nation at large as their contribution is even more important than that of the business community.
Finally, Creech says churches need support from governing bodies in providing an environment that is conducive to religious prosperity as well. “The repeal of blue laws is just one of those things that undermine their efforts,” he concludes.
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