Help for Liquor Permit Holders – More Can and Should Be Done
By: Ohio House of Representatives Majority Leader, Bill Seitz
When I was in law school, our student newspaper’s motto was “Illegitimi non carborundum”, Latin for “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.” I’m sure our state’s hospitality industry is feeling pretty ground down now after being extremely hard hit by draconian state orders that have curtailed business for many and closed doors for many more liquor permit holders in Ohio.
True, there have been some efforts to ease the pain. These include:
• The ability to sell a few carryout alcoholic beverages along with carryout food orders
• The ability to return unused bottles of spirituous liquor for credit
• Another massive rebate of worker’s compensation premiums from the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation, equal to all of the premium money employers paid in 2018
• A short-term moratorium in Ohio on commercial lease evictions and commercial mortgage loan foreclosures
• A variety of Federal programs providing stimulus cash, forgivable paycheck protection loans to small businesses, and other benefits
• An extension to July 15th of the due date for filing and payment of Federal and State taxes.
But it must add insult to injury to require liquor permit holders to pay their license renewal fees when their businesses have been so adversely affected by orders of the very jurisdiction that is now seeking payment of these fees! While some have called for a moratorium on forgiveness of this year’s renewal fees, and while that would be welcome, I recently proposed what I think is a better idea: let’s have JobsOhio pay the renewal fees due this year.
After all, JobsOhio’s revenue stream is overwhelmingly dependent on its right to all liquor profits from the State of Ohio. 30% of those revenues come from bar and restaurant sales, outside the state agency package liquor stores. If these locations close, or remain severely hampered by draconian orders, JobsOhio will suffer a dramatic drop in its revenues. Therefore, so as not to “kill the goose that laid the golden eggs”, it makes sense for JobsOhio to pay the fees that are due this year. This plan will also benefit the State Liquor Control Division by ensuring that it receives the revenues it needs to operate and to upgrade its antiquated computer systems. That’s a benefit that would not exist if we simply forgave the duty to pay the renewal fees.
I pitched this idea to JobsOhio’s chief executives on Friday, April 3 and they said they would look into it, having never considered it before. If you agree that this would be a good solution (which can be accomplished without legislation), I urge you to contact JobsOhio and Governor DeWine to press them for action.
Hang in there, my fellow Ohioans! We need to get back to business sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, we need to keep helping those impacted by the orders addressing the current health issues.