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Study Reveals Potential for Millions in Alcohol Sales for Several AR Counties

The overall potential economic impact to the three counties going wet on an annual basis, per the study by the University of Arkansas, could be $10.5 million in Craighead, $11.3 million in Faulkner and $12.5 million in Saline.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) – An economic impact study conducted by the University of Arkansas’ Center for Business and Economic Research released today estimates that based on potential sales figures from 2013, a wet Craighead County could have seen $24. 8 million in retail alcohol sales with related sales tax revenues for the county, a wet Saline County $34.2 million in sales with related sales tax revenues, and a wet Faulkner County $28.2 million with related sales tax revenues.

The overall potential economic impact to the three counties going wet on an annual basis, per the study, could be approximately $10.5 million in Craighead, $11.3 million in Faulkner and $12.5 million in Saline.

“Converting from dry county to wet county status could have real and significant economic benefits for Craighead, Faulkner and Saline counties,” said Jay Allen, president of Our Community, Our Dollars. “This study quantifies those potential benefits, while also scientifically quantifying why liquor interests in neighboring counties are working so hard and spending so much money to keep this issue off the ballot in November. They stand to lose millions in sales.”

“Legal retail alcohol sales are a signal of a contemporary economic development environment, “ said Kathy Deck, author of the study and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research. “While quantifying the value of that perception is difficult, it’s entirely possible to estimate sales effects, tax collections and other economic impacts of becoming a wet county. Allowing the retail sales of alcohol would create new tax revenue and jobs for these counties and help support local schools, police and other key city services.”

The study drew population information from the most recent U.S. Census data in 2010 and also considered applicable retail alcohol sales data from other “wet” areas in the state of Arkansas. The study used 2013 data to estimate the actual sales of liquor, wine and beer to residents of the three counties and to project what the effects of those sales would have been if residents had been able to make the purchases in their home counties.

Two types of effects were presented: sales impacts and construction impacts. The sales impacts represent a good guide to the likely magnitude of ongoing annual impacts if the dry counties were converted to wet counties. The construction impacts represent the cumulative one-time impacts that would accrue from construction of new retail stores.

The full study is available on the Center’s website

The Our Community, Our Dollars ballot question committee formed to provide residents in Craighead, Faulkner and Saline counties the opportunity to vote in the upcoming Nov. 4, 2014, election on whether retail alcohol sales should be legal in these counties. The initial goal is to collect the required signatures from voters in the three counties so that they have the opportunity to vote on the issue in the November election. The committee is committed to expanding convenience and freedom of choice for consumers and ensuring a level playing field for retailers, Allen said.

Our Community, Our Dollars is led by President Jay Allen and Treasurer Polly Martin, president of the Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants. The committee is funded by Arkansas retailers. Key sponsors include Walmart and Kum & Go.

For more information, visit Our Community Dollars.

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