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Letter: Time for Minnesota's own Prohibition to end

A recent column by Gary Buysse, the head of Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, wants Minnesotans to believe that consumer choice and economic freedom is bad for them ("Minnesotans, beware of Sunday liquor sales," Page A4, Jan. 6).

I disagree.

Imagine if Minnesota told a small business owner, "We don't think you can profit selling sandwiches, hardware, gasoline, donuts or pizza on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, so you and all other businesses that sell those items have to close one of those days. State law." Consumers, you are out of luck; the state makes that decision for you.

That seems far-fetched, intrusive and unrealistic, right? Well, it happens every Sunday to liquor store owners and consumers.

Buysse uses that thought process to defend municipal monopoly and profit as reasons for prohibiting Sunday sales. But in my opinion, municipalities should not be in the liquor business, period. They should make their money by licensing establishments and stop competing with private stores.

Every Sunday, Minnesota liquor stores are forced to stay closed on the second-busiest shopping day of the week. That includes Super Bowl Sunday, occasional New Year's Eve Sundays and every other Sunday.

It is state law — and it costs the state millions a year, sending those dollars to Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa and neighboring Canadian provinces.

It just does not make sense.

Restricting Sunday sales does not improve public safety, studies have shown. Moreover, Sunday Sales in other states—16 of them since 2002—have been shown the repeal to increase sales and taxes, increase profits and give consumers more choices and options for buying.

The fact is, there are no legitimate arguments to keeping the Sunday Sales prohibition in place. It's time to empower consumers and let those stores that want to be open on Sundays, to be open.

David Anderson

Lonsdale, Minn.