If approved, alcohol sales could bring in millions
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -
The Tyler Chamber of Commerce says by not selling alcohol, the city is likely missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue.
Wednesday, the political action committee, "Buy Local First", launched their plan to get a vote on beer and wine sales in Tyler. They also plan to get a vote for Smith County Precinct 2, which covers Bullard, Flint and Noonday.
Taking a hard look at the numbers, you can see just how big of an economic impact a change like this could make.
"A city of around 100,000, which is the size of Tyler, would gain about $3 million of new sales tax revenue per year by going to a beer and wine option," says Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce President Tom Mullins.
That would increase the city's sales tax revenue to at least $26 Million.
"It'll really help fund things that can't be funded right now," says Mullins.
Money from alcohol sales tax would go toward the city's general fund. That fund supports police, fire, parks and libraries.
While some residents hope allowing beer and wine sales would put a dent in their property taxes, the city says it's hard to say because Tyler's property tax rates are already low.
Numbers show that Waco, a city of similar size, has a property tax rate that's more than three times higher than Tyler's.
Mullins also says some national grocery chains won't even open their doors without beer and wine on the shelves.
"In fact, the grocery chains that are in our area now have estimated that every week they lose one million dollars in beer sales alone. That's not even counting wine. Every week, one million dollars compared to other parts of Texas and other states that they operate in," says Mullins.
But, he says the benefits aren't just for business.
"It's also better for individuals. They'd have more competitive pricing for buying beer and wine products. It'll also be more convenient for them, and ultimately we think that it'll show to be safer for people," says Mullins.
Economist Ray Perryman is being asked to produce a more detailed study on the economic impact and present it later this summer.
The group pushing for beer and wine sales, "Buy Local First", had 600 people polled over the phone to gage interested on the issue.
When asked how they would vote if an election were held today, 60 percent of people said they'd vote in favor of the sales and 37 percent said they'd be against beer and wine sales in the area.
However, when asked how they'd like tax revenues generated in the community, most people preferred economic development, job creation and sales tax increases over the sale of alcohol.