Arkansas has become the latest state to target alcohol as the cure for budget ills. Instead of taking on additional drinks taxes aimed at consumers, the Arkansas Senate has decided to place a levy on businesses.
The state Senate passed a bill to increase alcohol permit fees for restaurants, liquor stores and wholesalers. The maximum cost for a wholesale beer permit would jump from $1,000 to $5,000, while a restaurant wine permit would go from $50 to $300. The state expects these measures will bring in another $1.2 million.
Keep in mind that these are business that already pay a hefty amount of taxes that go to federal, state and local coffers. One part of the bill would allow on-premise consumption of alcohol to expand to 10 a.m. and midnight, adding four hours to the legal time of operation. The Arkansas House must pass the measure before it goes to the governor.