Gov. Jennifer Granholm is betting that liquor sales and longer bar hours will bring in more money for the state.
The plan involves liquor stores and restaurants selling spirits on Sunday mornings and bar owners buying permits for their establishments to stay open until 4 a.m.
The expanded hours for liquor sales would generate an estimated $13.7 million for the state's general fund, the pot over which the governor and lawmakers have spending discretion.
Additional revenue would come from the sale of the special permits priced at $1,500 each.
"Clearly, this is an opportunity for revenue enhancement," said Megan Brown, spokeswoman for the governor. "It's also an opportunity for communities to enhance entertainment districts and for businesses to expand profits.
"And it's more convenient for Sunday shoppers. Grocery stores could eliminate those gates in front of their liquor aisles."
The revenue estimates are based on 3,050 bars taking advantage of the longer night hours and 6,100 merchants buying licenses for Sunday morning sales.
Tom Dunleavy, owner of Dunleavy's bar in Allen Park, said he likes the idea of later bar hours.
"Say you had a nice crowd at 2 a.m. and didn't feel like kicking everybody out," he said. "You could make a couple hundred dollars extra or maybe even a thousand if you could stay open until 4 a.m. Opening on Sunday morning would be good for someplace like a hotel downtown that could have a breakfast and maybe serve Bloody Marys before a ballgame."
Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods, said extending hours for the sale of spirits is long overdue.
"These laws stem from Prohibition," said Jacobs, sponsor of the bill to allow Sunday sales between 7 a.m. and noon. "The times, they are a-changing. If we want to be competitive with other entertainment venues, we need to do this."
Lance Binoniemi, government affairs director for the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, said his group has pushed for longer hours for four years but not necessarily with costly new fees attached.
There has been talk during that time of increasing the basic fees for liquor licenses. Granholm also proposes that those fees be doubled as part of her budget plan. License fees haven't been increased since 1976.
"We suggested longer hours because we thought we should get something in return if they're going to increase our fees," he said.
Binoniemi said a few other places, including Virginia, New York, metro Chicago and some metro areas of Georgia allow liquor sales until 4 a.m.