The overall economy of the state would benefit significantly if the Texas Legislature passes a law to extend liquor sale hours.
According to a Feb. 20 University Star article, two legislators recently filed bills designed to abolish the state’s “blue” laws that limit Sunday alcohol sales. The bills known as Senate Bill 236 and House Bill 421 are expected to expand the hours of liquor store operation each week.
A law altering the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Code could have added $7.4 million in general revenue to the 2012-13 biennium budget, according to a Feb. 7 Texas Tribune article. More money at the state level means more to distribute to services, like higher education.
The same Texas Tribune article indicated 14 states have repealed Sunday liquor bans within the past nine years. The economy of the city could be boosted if San Marcos followed suit by allowing extended liquor hour sales on Sundays and the rest of the week. Along with Texas State students, many tourists visit San Marcos to float the river and drink alcohol throughout the year, which contributes to a high rate of alcohol consumption in the city. Local businesses that serve alcohol could only stand to benefit from expanded liquor purchasing hours. In return, if businesses are doing better by selling more alcohol, the city becomes healthier financially.
With expanded liquor purchasing hours, there is clear potential for economic growth at the abundance of bars and restaurants in the city. In an article in the Winter 2012 issue of Bobcat Magazine, all the bars and restaurants licensed to serve alcohol in San Marcos collected $7.7 million last semester alone. Compare that to an estimated $5 or $5.50, which are the average prices of a craft beer at a restaurant or bar respectively, according to a March 4 CNBC article.
Some employers across the state are for the blue laws limiting alcohol sales on Sundays. In Houston, store owners want to respect Sunday as a day off for the family, as mentioned in a Feb. 10 KHOU article. However, others believe if people are allowed to purchase alcohol in bars and restaurants on Sunday, they should be able to buy bottles from liquor stores as well, as reported in the same Texas Tribune article.
As a college-centered town, residents and students appear to frequent the plethora of liquor stores in the city regardless of the day. About 82 percent of college students have consumed alcohol in the past year at two- and four-year institutions, according to a 2010 Core Institute at Southern Illinois University survey.
All in all, this is not about blue laws and respect. This is about the city and state’s ability to grow their overall budgets by taking advantage of more opportunities to rake in extra money with longer liquor store hours.
If the law does pass, San Marcos, Austin, College Station, Lubbock, Waco and other college towns across the state will likely be the locations that will benefit most from Sunday liquor sales. The city’s economy needs all the help it can get, and increasing hours for liquor sales can only serve to benefit local business owners, especially during the peak of tourism season in summer.