By State Rep. Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven
A statistic we often proudly boast about is that Georgia is the Number 1 state in which to do business. Under Gov. Nathan Deal’s leadership, we have had five banner years of this enviable title— one that has had palpable effects on our state. Companies looking to relocate or expand now give Georgia serious consideration and often choose our state because of our business climate.
recruiting business to Georgia is in part due to our efforts
to eliminate unnecessary and antiquated regulations.
However, we aren’t without room for improvement.
Currently state-owned facilities such as the Georgia
World Congress Center and Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz
Stadium are allowed to serve alcohol at 10:30 a.m. on
Sundays, while restaurants right across the street are prohibited from selling alcohol until 12:30 p.m. This discrepancy in the existing law that gives government an advantage over private business is anti-free enterprise, and the antithesis of the pro-business slogan we’ve been reciting for the last five years.
To address this discrepancy, this upcoming legislative
session I am carrying the “Brunch Bill” in the House and
Sen. Butch Miller, the newly-elected President Pro
Tempore of the Senate, is carrying its companion bill.
Many restaurant owners are hopeful for passage
including Chris Hall, the chief raconteur and partner
with Unsukay. “The Brunch Bill will have an enormously
positive impact on our industry. With as many events as
there are in Atlanta and across the state, allowing us to
sell alcohol at this time will enhance revenue for us as
well as put us on a level playing field with other cities
and states. We are excited at the prospect of this legislation passing,” he said.
Another strong advocate for the “Brunch Bill” is the
Georgia Restaurant Association. GRA Executive Director
Karen Bremer says:
“Passing a brunch bill would have a huge economic
impact on the restaurants and the state of Georgia.
More food and beverage sales equals more tax revenue
for the state and more jobs. Each restaurant that can sell
alcohol will generate an extra $25,000 a year (an extra
$480.77 on Sundays). There are about 4,000 restaurants
in Georgia that could benefit which would mean a total
of $100 million extra in revenue and at 11 percent total
taxes, $11 million more in taxes. This bill would create a
level playing field for government-owned facilities and
the restaurant business.”
In 2015, this pro-business bill overwhelmingly passed the House but was unfortunately held up in the Senate in 2016. The Senate president pro tem and I are looking forward to working together and with other members to pass this legislation during this General Assembly. Considering that it gives each local municipality the ability to choose whether to allow Sunday alcohol sales to begin earlier, I am hopeful that it will pass. Let’s give the voters a choice. As for me, I’ll take a mimosa! Cheers!