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Government Shutdown Dries Up Minnesota

This post was originally published on the Public Notice: Bankrupting America Blog.

In a victory for teetotalers, prohibitionists, and defenders of the defunct 18th Amendment, alcohol sales will be sharply curbed in Minnesota as a result of the state’s government shutdown.

But the coming drought may be avoided, if the Republican-held legislature accepts Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D) compromise to bridge the $5 billion budget deficit, offered earlier today.  His newest plan accepts most of the Republican proposal from late last month, but includes some caveats that may hold up an agreement.

As highlighted by Bloomberg, American brewer MillerCoors will need to remove 39 varieties of beer from store shelves after their brand-label registration fees (at $30 apiece) arrived too late for the now skeleton crew at the state Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement department to process their renewal.

Lovers of other brands will find themselves empty-handed too. The Wall Street Journal reported that 300 restaurants, bars, and liquor stores saw their $20 alcohol-purchasing licenses expire this month. That leaves business owners facing dwindling supplies, as they are prohibited from buying alcohol from wholesale distributors without the permit.

With tax receipts from alcohol earning the state more than $329 million last year, and business fearing the prospects of shutting their doors and laying off employees, state lawmakers should handle the deficit with sobriety and focus and come together to resolve this shutdown.

And with the debt ceiling debate continuing in Washington, Congress should heed the warning coming from Minnesota’s worsening crisis or face voters like Richard Martenson who exclaimed that “for political purposes” lawmakers are “destroying a lot of businesses and a lot of lives.”

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