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Speak Out: Later Last Call at D.C. Bars?

Mayor Vincent Gray proposed keeping bars open later on both weekdays and weekends to raise extra revenue.

Mayor Vincent Gray hopes that making closing time later for D.C. bars could create extra revenue, but Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans opposes the move and accused the mayor of using a "nickel-and-dime approach" to balance the budget.

Among other new revenue sources, Mayor Gray proposed extending bar hours from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekdays and from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends and holidays. The mayor anticipates that these later hours would generate an estimated $1.3 million in increased sales tax revenue annually.

Evans wrote in his constituent newsletter:

"I believe many residents of Ward 2 will object to this type of change. Therefore, this will require that we find funding elsewhere."

But the Washington Post reports that industry groups support the measure:

“We live in a city that doesn’t work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Skip Colburn, executive director of the DC Nightlife Association in an interview with the Washington Post. “People who work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. can go out from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., but many people in the military, many people in the corporate world, many people in government, cannot. We have a 24-hour city and a 24-hour world.”

The later hours might not impact much of Georgetown, though, because of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission's reliance on voluntary agreements to restrict bar hours.

Georgetown Metropolitan blogger Topher Matthews explains that though the hours are "not likely to be too popular" in Georgetown, it might not matter:

The reality is that it actually would not make that big of an impact because most bars are restricted by their voluntary agreements from serving after a certain hour, regardless of the legal maximum.

What do you think? Should bars be allowed to stay open later? Do you think this is a good source of revenue to help balance the budget? SPEAK OUT in the comments!

The Ward 2 town hall meeting on the budget will be April 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Historic Charles Sumner School and Archives. The Ward 3 meeting is April 4 from 6:30 to 8:30 at Alice Deal Middle School.

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