For Immediate Release March 13, 2020

Proposed Michigan Wine Shipping Bill To Generate $1.7 to $2.5 Million Tax Revenues in the First Year

—SB 819/HB 5579 Would Legalize Wine Retailer Shipments Into State—

(Lansing, Michigan)—The State of Michigan would generate between $1.7 million and 2.5 million dollars in tax revenue in the first year after implementation of a wine shipping bill currently in the legislature, according to the National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR). Senate Bill 819 and its companion in the House, House Bill 5579, would allow wine shipments to Michigan residents from out-of-state wine retailers.

Introduced by Senator Mallory McMorrow and Representative Steve Johnson, the wine shipping bills currently await a hearing date. The proposed law gives Michigan consumers the right to receive wine shipments from out-of-state wine stores, wine auction houses, and wine-of-the-month clubs, while out-of-state retailers would remit sales taxes on all shipments, obtain a shipping permit from the state, remit regular reports on shipments, must submit to Michigan regulatory and legal jurisdiction, and obtain an adult signature with each wine delivery.

Current Ban On Wine Shipments From Out-of-State Retailers Ruled Unconstitutional
“Senator McMorrow’s and Representative Johnson’s wine shipping bill is a win-win,” explained Tom Wark, executive director of the NAWR. “Not only would the law result in millions of dollars in sales tax revenue for the state, but it would also give Michigan wine consumers access to hundreds of thousands of wines they currently don’t have access to in Michigan.”

The wine shipping bill was introduced in response to a 2017 Michigan law banning retailer wine shipments into Michigan that was subsequently ruled an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause last year by a Michigan Federal District Court.

The 2017 law allowed Michigan wine stores to ship wine to Michigan consumers while banning out-of-state wine stores from doing the same. Federal Judge Arthur Tarnow ruled that the discriminatory and protectionist nature of the law violated the Constitution. A nearly identical Michigan law was also ruled unconstitutional in 2008, after which the legislature changed the law to allow home delivery to all retailers. The 2017 change in the law that was recently ruled unconstitutional was supported by the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association.

“Michigan has spent well over $1 million dollars of taxpayer funds defending unconstitutional efforts to protect in-state wholesalers from competition,” said Wark. “Instead, the state could have been collecting millions in tax revenue and this bill will finally allow the state to do that and give consumers access to the wines they want.”

About NAWR
The National Association of Wine Retailers represents the interests of independent fine wine retailers across the United States. The Association advocates for a well-regulated and level playing field for wine retailers, wine auction houses and wine-of-the-month clubs. For more information see http://www.nawr.org

# # #

CONTACT:
Tom Wark, Executive Director
National Association of Wine Retailers
tom@nawr.org • 971-332-5057