Legalizing alcohol sales in three currently dry Arkansas counties could yield "tangible economic benefits,” according to a University of Arkansas study commissioned by a group working to get the issue on the November ballots.
The study, conducted by the UA Center for Business and Economic Research, estimated potential revenue for Craighead, Saline and Faulkner counties on the basis of 2013 sales figures in wet counties.
Researcher projected that Craighead County could have seen $24.8 million in retail alcohol sales with related sales tax revenue, Saline County could have pulled in $34.2 million and Faulkner County could have seen $28.2 million in 2013.
Arkansas is home to 38 wet counties and 37 that prohibit alcohol sales, but some of those dry counties allow sales by the drink at establishments with private club licenses.
“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,” Center for Business and Economic Research director and study author Kathy Deck said in a statement.
Study authors used 2010 U.S. Census and retail-alcohol-sales data for Arkansas to estimate the sales of liquor, wine and beer in the three dry counties examined.
Between 141 and 151 retail jobs could potentially be added in each county, the study said.
A complete copy of the study is available here.
The study was produced for Our Community, Our Dollars, a tri-county group collecting the required voter signatures to add the wet/dry issue to the counties' November ballots.