Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DC Council Approves Budget with Limited Extended Alcohol Sales Hours

On Tuesday, May 14, the Council members discussed the Budget Supplement Act which contains a number of amendments to the Budget Request Act. The budget request includes a proposal by Council Chair Brown that extends hours of alcohol sales for 19 days (11 Federal holidays that also include 4 three-day-long-weekends). This is a compromise proposal to close a funding/revenue gap of $1.5 million in the District's budget. This was the first reading of the BSA after the Council approved the BRA. Council Member Cheh introduced an amendment that would require reporting on the effectiveness of the extended hours on raising the funds and any impacts on MPD and neighborhoods after a year of operation.

Currently VA's limit operating hours for approximately 25% of licensees in the District and many licensees that will be eligible to be open late will elect to close at their regular closing time. So it is not clear how much revenue will actually be raised by implementing this proposal.

The next Legislative Meeting of the Council is scheduled for June 5. Council Member Graham commented that he hopes the Council can find the $1.5 million to fill the gap without having to extend alcohol sales hours.