Budget shortfall could help bring wine to supermarkets - WKRN News 2

Budget shortfall could help bring wine to supermarkets

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Tennessee lawmakers who voted against allowing wine sales in grocery stores may relook at the legislation with a fresh eye.

As the state faces an almost $1 billion shortfall, retail lobbyists are hoping that potential revenue from a change in the law may entice some to change their vote.

Jarron Springer, with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association, said a change in the law would mean "millions of dollars in revenue for the state."

Currently, 33 states allow wine in retail stores and most of those states not only report an increase in tax revenue but have seen no negative effect on liquor businesses.

Springer said per capita there are more liquor stores in the states that currently allow wine in food stores then in Tennessee.

Proponents of a law estimate the state could bring in an extra $20 million a year.

Money, some believe, will be hard for lawmakers to turn away this session.

"I think it would open up the market to consumers having the option to buy in a more convenient location," said Springer.

Tennessee, Kentucky and New York are looking at wine sales in grocery stores, but there are several other states that are looking at changing their liquor laws all because of budget shortfalls.

Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Texas Connecticut, and Minnesota are considering allowing liquor sales on Sunday. 

Utah, a state with some of the countries toughest liquor laws, is thinking about some big changes including alcohol sales on Election Day.

Nebraska lawmakers will decide whether or not to let people drink in state parks, hoping it will boost tourism while California, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Virginia want to raise alcohol taxes.

Experts have said that when times are tough, alcohol sales increase.

Tennessee lawmakers wouldn't say whether they'd change their support for the law this year.

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