Update on Liq/Food License Fees, Spirits Discount & SBA Loans



This afternoon, the MLBA testified on three bills in front of the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee at the Capitol.

The premise of Senate Bills 230, 353 and 354 is to provide relief for all on-premises licensees throughout the state.

Senate Bill 230:

1.The first item in Senate Bill 230 would extend the current spirits discount from the state for on-premises licensees, which is set to expire on July 1, 2021. The bill would extend that 23% discount, which was raised from the prior 17% discount that’s typically in effect, until December 31, 2023.

2.The second item in Senate Bill 230 would waive MLCC license fees for on-premises liquor licensees for the current year. At this time, the renewal deadline has been extended to July 30. However, due to being closed for most of the year, licensees did not get to take advantage of their license despite the fees they paid last year. There have been multiple attempts to reimburse these fees for 2020, but both have been vetoed. It’s estimated that waiving these fees for 2021 would cost the MLCC around $9 million.

Senate Bill 353 & 354:

1. These bills would waive your food license fees from local health departments for 2021.

During the hearing, the MLBA suggested utilizing federal stimulus dollars to make up for MLCC and health department losses that would occur if these bills passed. We also mentionedthat the state made more money from liquor sales in 2020 than any other year ever (due to off-premises sales). Back in February, the liquor revolving fund was up 21% from the previous year and in 2019, the fund transferred $248 million to the general fund. Over the last decade, MLCC has transferred $1.95 billion from liquor sale revenue to the state’s general fund.

The MLBA will continue to support and monitor these bills as they progress. Extending the spirits discount and waiving your food and license fees would help relieve some of the burdens you are facing. We understand that many bars and restaurants are already struggling withrunning a business at a limited capacity, abiding by rules that frequently change, staffing issues, a curfew and investing in infrastructure to make their establishments more welcoming to patrons who may feel uneasy about returning for dine-in service.

We will continue to do everything in our power to fight for legislation that benefits you and your staff.

Thank you.


- MLBA Staff -

Restaurant Roundtable Part 2


Today, the MLBA participated in a restaurant roundtable regarding the federal SBA loans that will soon be available.

We don't have a lot of new information to relay, but we did learn that they are currently testing the website to make sure it is in working condition when bars and restaurant owners begin to apply. Formalized guidelines will be coming soon. Below is information from the previous email blast.

These loans will come directly from a Small Business Administration (SBA) fund. They are not loans and you will not have to pay them back. The primary intention of the grants is to help you make up for revenue lost during the pandemic. Unlike PPP, we learned that these loans will not be run through your local bank. They will run through the federal SBA. Of the $28.6 billion, $5 billion will be set aside specifically for businesses that made less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019. The other $23.6 billion will be open and available to everyone.

Who is eligible?

All food service/drinking establishments. This includes bars, restaurants, caterers, food trucks, taprooms, etc.

Who is not eligible?

Conglomerates with more than 20 locations, publicly traded groups or businesses that have a pending application for the federal "Save our Stages" venue program.

How much can you expect to get?

• The maximum an individual establishment can receive is $5 million.
• The maximum a bar/restaurant group can receive is $10 million.
• For establishments open before 2019: subtract your 2020 gross revenue from your 2019 gross revenue. Then subtract the amount you've received from PPP from that number and you'll get your estimated max grant amount. At this time, we do not believe federal EIDL loans will count against you.
• For establishments that opened in 2019: Take your average monthly revenue in 2019, multiply it by 12, subtract your 2020 gross revenue and PPP and that's your estimated max grant amount.
• For establishments that opened in 2020: Take your eligible expenses from 2020 and subtract your revenue from 2020 and that will be your maximum grant amount. Most establishments that opened in 2020 did not receive PPP, but if you did, that will need to be subtracted as well.
What can the money be used for?
• Payroll, benefits, establishment mortgages, rent, utilities, maintenance (including COVID construction like outdoor patios, etc.), supplies, food & beverage, etc.
• Keep in mind that you cannot pay any individual more than $100,000 from the grant money.
Will grant dollars received be taxed?
You will not pay federal taxes on it. State taxes will be dependent on what the state decides to do.

Is there a covered period for the grants?

Like PPP, there is a covered period. Currently, that period is set between Feb 15, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2021. SBA has the ability to extend this if necessary.

What will you need to apply?

• 2019 tax returns.
• PPP/forgiveness documents.
• 2020 tax returns (if available).


We'll have more information about where and when to apply soon.