It looks as though Athens will finally be able to vote on ending the prohibition-era ban of alcohol sales on Sundays on the July 31 ballot. As someone who works in the service industry here in town, I encourage the voters to pass the referendum for Sunday sales. And, while I am happy to see that this referendum will be up for a vote soon, I canâ€™t help but wonder what took us so long to get here. Considering the fact that SB 10, which passed the decision for Sunday sales to local governments, was signed on Apr. 28, 2011, Athens is way behind the power curve on this issue. Cities like Winder, with a population of 14,656 residents, led the charge by voting in November on the issue and then roughly one week later allowing the sales to begin. Athens, which according to the 2010 Census has a population of 116,714 with 96,291 of those residents being over the legal voting age of 18, is just now setting a date for the vote.
Something is inherently wrong when a â€œprogressiveâ€ city like Athens is surpassed by cities like Winder on ending prohibition-era alcohol lawsâ€¦ According to the AJCâ€™s politifact.com, we would see a rough estimate of 5 to 7 percent increase in sales statewide if we opened sales on Sundays. Pair this with the fact that Georgia has one of the highest tax rates on liquor in the U.S. at $3.79 per gallon, and we find that we are shutting off much needed revenue both locally and statewide by not voting to allow Sunday sales on the referendum.
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