60-40 rule is too strong

The city’s outdated liquor laws harshly limit area restaurants.

Many bars and restaurants around the University of Minnesota struggle to comply with a decades-old city law limiting revenue from alcohol sales. The Minneapolis City Council should revisit and ultimately loosen the “60-40” rule that requires restaurants to make no more than 40 percent of revenue from alcohol sales.

This law, which is common in other forms in Minnesota and other states, generally doesn’t affect restaurants in downtown Minneapolis. The rule’s original intent was to keep some bars out of residential neighborhoods. But it has now become a burden on about 200 Minneapolis businesses, many of which are near the University.

There are a couple possible routes to change the law. Ward 3 Councilman Jacob Frey, who represents parts of the University area, told the Minnesota Daily that he’s working with other city leaders to draft an ordinance amendment. If voters feel strongly about the issue, a referendum in November is possible, the Star Tribune reported.

Lawmakers should, at minimum, change the ratio to allow for more alcohol sales, if not cut it altogether. The discussion also raises the question of whether regulation would be a blight on the area. We doubt eliminating the ratio laws altogether would negatively affect the University area and many other areas around the city.

This same discussion came up last April with different faces in the City Council, and the Minnesota Daily Editorial Board opposed the rule then. We hope our city lawmakers can make a lasting change to the city’s liquor laws to keep up with restaurants and consumer demand.