Minnesota Shutdown Claims Booze and (Maybe) Cigarettes

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/myklroventine/1441310890/">Mykl Roventine</a>/Flickr


First they came for Minnesota’s state parks, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a tree-hugger. Then they came for the DMVs and interstate highways, and I didn’t speak up because I didn’t own a car. And then they came for my beer and cigarettes….

Or so the poem might read if the great Minnesota government shutdown doesn’t abate.

In a development that is sure to harsh the mellow of every barfly and club-hopper in Minnesota, the state’s government shutdown will soon prevent restaurants, taverns, and distributors from renewing the liquor purchasing cards that allow them to replenish their inventories. The Star Tribune reports:

Of the roughly 10,000 establishments that sell liquor in Minnesota, most of those who needed to renew their buyer purchasing cards managed to do so before the July 1 shutdown started. About 300 were caught with cards that expired on June 30 and no way to renew the permits.

That number will grow to 425 by the end of the month, according to state officials, and grow as more cards expire at random intervals.

MillerCoors will soon have to yank nearly 40 brands of beer from bar and store coolers statewide because it can’t get its brand label registration renewed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The shuttered government is also barred from issuing tax stamps that retailers are required to affix to every pack of smokes sold, so cigarettes may be next on the chopping block, according to NPR:

One cigarette distributor says he bought some $2 million in tax stamps to prepare for the shutdown. Those in the industry say that the state will run short of cigarettes in September.

These are just the latest economic casualties of the two-week-old impasse between Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled legislature. The standoff has had a similar impact on scores of other businesses, from beauty salons to sport fishing. Where is the GOP’s oft-professed love for small businesses when people actually need it?

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.