Economic experts say we are now seeing the benefits of bringing alcohol sales to parts of Smith County.
The latest numbers released today are based on sales in January --- which is the first full month of beer and wine sales after the November election.
Take a look. The City of Tyler saw an 8% increase in sales tax revenues...
The biggest increase in Smith County was Noonday with a 45-percent increase.
Meanwhile, the City of Winona saw a 30% drop, likely due to decreased sales of beer and wine.
Tom Mullins with the Tyler Economic Development Corporation says alcohol sales are likely the cause of the changes in numbers.
"I think in our experience you can clearly attribute it to the availability of beer and wine in grocery stores and convenience stores."
Today, we talked with officials with the City of Tyler. They say it is too early to say the increase is due to beer and wine in Tyler.
Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel released this statement, "At this point we do not have enough detailed information to determine which sectors of industry subject to sales and use tax might be up, since the comptroller only reports recent information in the aggregate. More detailed information will be available in approximately three to four weeks."
Allen Clarida is part owner of The Pour House, a liquor store in Winona. He is confident the recently passed sales are the reason for the decrease in sales tax revenue at his store.
"We knew this day was coming. We focus on the wholesale so we are probably one of the happier guys in Winona because we're still ordering business as usual, but part of our retail is 60% off."
But Clarida says it is possible his dip in revenue will reverse once the novelty of buying beer and wine in formerly dry areas of Smith County wears off.
"Right now it's cool and it's neat and even I found myself taking pictures of my cart at Brookshires."
Mullins says areas that are completely wet still have an advantage, "They're still going to do well because they still have hard liquor available, restaurants buy there and other consumers will buy there."
Mullins says the new sales tax numbers flow with the economic forecast released before the November election.
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