Tax Revenue Up but not Alcohol-Related Problems

The city of Jackson in Alabama recently voted to become “wet.” A lawsuit has been filed in an effort to overturn the results of that election, although early evidence is that only good has resulted from permitting legal sales of alcoholic beverages in the city.

In the first seven months after legalizing alcohol, tax revenues from its sale have been nearly $200,000. Much of that money has gone to benefit programs within the community including a van for the nutrition center and a new building at the high school stadium. It’s anticipated that higher revenues in the summer months will bring the annual revenues to at least $500,000.

In spite of predictions that legal sales would lead to more DUIs and other alcohol-related arrests and problems, the Police Department has found that no evidence in support of those predictions. In fact, arrests for DUI actually dropped , compared to the same period before legalizing alcohol.

This is not surprising. Systematic research has found DUI/DWI to be higher in dry than in wet counties. This may be because people must drive longer distances to obtain alcohol and are on the roads longer. People in Jackson are now presumably buying their beverages locally (increasing tax revenues) and are less likely to drive while impaired.

Reference:

  • Carden, Evan. Alcohol income up while related problems said minimal. The South Alabamian, February 23, 2006.

Filed Under: Drinking and Driving