Set the liquor market free

Supporters of the Sunday liquor sales ban misconstrue the point of state laws.

Editorial board


Earlier this month, the Minnesota House of Representatives unsurprisingly rejected an amendment that would have lifted the ban on Sunday liquor sales, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

In the process, state representatives touted the usual arguments about how lifting the ban would harm small liquor stores that can’t afford to stay open seven days a week and would thus lose business to larger stores. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, argued as such and said, “if we do pass this, they feel they’ll be forced to be open on Sundays to compete with the big box liquor stores that are encroaching on territory they’ve had for years,” MPR reported.

While providing an accurate economic analysis, Daudt failed to communicate why it’s the job of the state Legislature to help small businesses fend off competition. State laws and regulations shouldn’t be designed to give certain players in the market a leg up.

In nearly every industry, smaller and bigger businesses constantly fight for customers, offering a variety of benefits for shopping there, and the consumer ultimately makes the decision of where to spend his or her own money. Nobody would force liquor stores to stay open every day of the week, but a ban on selling liquor on Sundays is both arbitrary and an overreach. Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, summed it up best by saying, “Responsible consumers simply want the opportunity to shop on Sunday, which is a day that many people want to go out and shop, a day that many of them are not working.”

While the ban is unlikely to be lifted anytime in the near future, it remains unjustifiable and inconsistent with the true purpose of state laws and regulations.