Click here to read the report.
The Sam M. Walton College of Business has released its report on the projected impact of alcohol sales in Faulkner County.
According to the report, if the county had been "wet" in 2013, residents would have spent about $28 million on alcohol, generating about $141,000 in county tax revenue. Imagining a 2013 in which alcohol was sold "in Conway and Greenbrier," the report states, about $282,000 in new city taxes would have been raised.
Other cities in Faulkner County do not meet the 5,000-resident population threshold for alcohol sales, but up to 10 alcohol sales permits could go to unincorporated areas of the county, according to the report.
Also, with a projection that half of the permitted retail alcohol businesses would be building new liquor stores, the county (mostly Conway) would see about $59,000 in new property tax money.
Adding in about $45,000 in tax money raised by more "full-service restaurants" opening in the county because "the added expense involved from having a private club license in order to serve alcohol would be removed" and the economic impact of new jobs and construction, the report states, and alcohol sales "would have generated previously non-existent recurring economic impacct of $11,324,158, dollars that would remain in Faulkner County."
The initiative to put a "wet/dry" vote on the November ballot is being led by the Our Community, Our Dollars commmittee, which gets its main funding from Walmart and Kum & Go. A Sam’s Club is planned for Conway, and when it opens Walmart would have four places to sell alcohol in Conway.
It has been reported by national news organizations, including Bloomberg, that Walmart has plans to double its alcohol sales by 2016, and the Our Community, Our Dollars committee’s chairman, Jay Allen of Rogers, is formerly Walmart’s senior vice president of corporate affairs.
The effort to keep Faulkner County "dry" is led by the They Win, You Lose committee, which has ties with the Conway County Legal Beverages Association.
The Faulkner County Quorum Court passed a resolution expressing the preference of its members that the county remain "dry" last month after JP Steve Goode presented figures he said show that an increase in DWI offenses and alcohol-related crime will create a need for more deputies and jail resources, which he said will result in a net loss if the county goes "wet." The vote was unanimous, but two JPs were absent.