Petition against the extension of liquor, tobacco, beer, and wine sales until midnight in D.C.


Many D.C communities already contain too many harmful distractions to young people, their families and school communities. I am opposed to creating more opportunities for tobacco and liquor sales in D.C. Communities by extending liquor store hours to midnight as proposed recently by the Mayor.

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Mayor Vincent Gray has proposed a budget that would change the liquor laws. If the city’s budget is approved by the D.C. Council, the sale of liquor, beer, and wine will be extended to midnight Mondays through Saturdays, and the sales tax on off-premise alcoholic beverages will be increased from 9 to 10 percent. Although supporters are raving about how good the change in liquor laws could be for the District’s budget, there is a lot of gray area around just how much this change would help the budget. For our communities, the ugly consequences far outweigh the good.

The good: It is estimated that the extension of liquor store hours and tax increase would generate an extra $2.36 million in revenue for the city.

The gray: Looking at the big picture, an extra $2.36 million hardly puts a dent in the expected $322 million gap in the 2012 budget. So how much are our communities really sacrificing for an amount that is trivial in the grand scheme of things.

The ugly: Even if the District were able to raise $2.36 million in extra revenue from liquor, beer, and wine sales, what would that look like in our communities? This amount of tax revenue would require an extra (extra) $236 million in liquor sales per year. If we consider the average alcoholic beverage to be around $15, that would mean an extra (extra) 16 million bottles of liquor, beer, and wine on our streets. How does an extra 16 million bottles of liquor, beer, and wine, not including the current sales, in a city of little more than half a million people help the city? It doesn’t.

The proposed budget does however encourage the over-consumption of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. With a liquor store selling wine, beer, and tobacco on just about every corner in many of our neighborhoods, what type of message are we sending to our youth by extending business hours? The large majority of gas stations, restaurants, grocers, and drug stores close before midnight; are we saying that liquor and cigarettes are more of a priority in life than nutrition, wellness, and fuel? Not only does it send our youth a bad message, it is impossible to see how the additional revenue is going to benefit them. D.C. Public Schools will only be receiving enough funding to maintain their struggling programs and supports. And there is no reason to believe that any of the $2.36 million will be used to campaign against underage drinking or provide substance abuse education.

The budget is requesting that our communities support increased liquor and tobacco sales and consumption, however this budget would provide no extra support to protect our youth from the negative images and behaviors that may result. As an opponent of any harmful and negative distractions in our schools’ communities, DC VOICE asks that you:
• Sign our petition against the extension of liquor, tobacco, beer, and wine sales until midnight. Click here to sign the petition
• And join us as we kick off our Butt-Out Campaign in partnership with the DC Department of Health, May 21st at 10:00am at H.D. Woodson Senior High School.


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