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Senate approves McBroom bill providing COVID-19-ravaged businesses relief from license fees

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan businesses with liquor licenses would not have to pay on-premises liquor license fees this year and an on-premises spirits discount would be increased and extended under legislation approved by the state Senate on Wednesday.

“Michigan’s bars and restaurants were hit hard by the state’s crushing response to the coronavirus,” said Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, who sponsored Senate Bill 230. “Through no fault of their own, most establishments spent most of the past year closed and their staff out of work. It doesn’t make any sense to further punish bars and restaurants with liquor license fees they can’t afford because they weren’t allowed to conduct business. This bill provides them needed relief at a time when they’re just getting back on their feet.”

Specifically, SB 230 would waive Michigan Liquor Control Commission license fees for on-premises liquor license holders this year. Fees would be waived for:

  • Watercraft licensed to carry passengers, selling alcohol;
  • Hotels with Class A and B licenses;
  • Taverns selling beer and wine;
  • Class C licenses selling beer, wine, mixed spirit drink, and spirits;
  • Clubs selling beer, wine, mixed spirit drink, and spirits;
  • Brewpubs;
  • Class G-1 and G-2 licenses;
  • Motorsport event licenses;
  • Nonpublic continuing care retirement center licenses;
  • Specially designated merchant licenses that are held in conjunction with an on-premises license;
  • Tasting room licenses;
  • Banquet facility liquor licenses;
  • Catering liquor licenses; and
  • On-premises retailers and manufacturers under section 1115 issued under section 536.

“It is morally wrong for the state to charge someone a fee for a privilege they are then prohibited to utilize,” McBroom said. “I find it repugnant, and we should have given them their money back months ago. The state took in more revenue from alcohol sales last year than at any other time in history — more than 20% more revenue. We need to provide these businesses with relief from what was basically stolen from them last year while the state benefited from increased sales.”

The bill also would extend the current spirits discount from the state for on-premises licensees to Dec. 31, 2023 as well as increase the discount to 23%.

SB 230 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.