Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

January 20, 2013

In Your View

ASHLAND — Alcohol sales bad for economy 

There is a lot of discussion in Greenup County about the election for alcohol on Jan. 22.

The “dry” movement isn’t just a group of people against drinking. I drink alcohol but am working to keep this proposition from passing. My reasons have nothing to do with the moral issue of whether alcohol is good or bad. My reason is it’s a bad economic decision for Greenup County.

Greenup County is simply too sparsely populated for alcohol sales. That is probably why 50 of the state’s 120 counties are dry.

Greenup has 10 sheriff’s deputies for an area of 321 square miles. The city of Ashland has 49 police officers for 11.1 square miles. 

Ashland’s laws provide for restaurants that seat 100 with 70 percent of revenue from food sales and package stores, but bars are prohibited except in hotels and no hotel currently has a bar.

The proposition states: “Are you in favor of the sale of alcoholic beverages in Greenup County, Kentucky,” which translates into bars and package stores. For the past three years, Russell has allowed for restaurant sales like Ashland, but no chain restaurant serving liquor has opened. Greenup does not have enough people to generate the income these establishments require.

We have only 14,536 households with a median income of $32,142, which isn’t enough to generate tax revenue to make any substantial change to Greenup County’s tax base. Try a reasonable scenario that 50 percent of the households spend 1 percent of income on alcohol annually and 3.5 percent of the sales tax remains in Greenup County. The county, along with the seven cites, will share a pot of $86,000, which works out to $10,750 per taxing entity.

The cost related to the sales will far exceed the income. It is a poor economic decision to vote wet.

Margaret Blackwell King, Greenup County

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