Liquor stores. This can be an emotional subject. Their existence can launch a very moral discussion. I’m not qualified to pass judgment on liquor stores. I think I can say without dispute that murder is immoral, but not sure about liquor stores. I firmly believe that no matter what I might say regarding good or bad about liquor stores, no one will change their minds from their current opinion. Actually, I’m kinda glad it’s that way.
There is a petition being circulated around Rowlett looking for supporters to make liquor stores legal in Rowlett. I don’t wish to get into the morality of the petition or its supporters. I’m not qualified. However, I’d like to tell some stories. I grew up and went to school in Indiana. Although most people would consider Indiana a northern state, the attitudes of the people are quite similar to the attitudes of Texas people. Indiana people, in general, are quite conservative and look to themselves for their own well being. Indianapolis is a pretty major USA city and is quite conservative. The areas up around Chicago lean pretty far left, but they do not run the state.
Anyhow, Indiana is an open saloon state. They have rules, and believe me, you’d better follow them. Indiana’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission is extremely powerful. Anyone taking one step beyond their authorized limits will not like the next day.
I have lived in Texas twice as long as I lived in Indiana. I used to live in Tyler, Tx about 40 years ago. Smith County is bone dry. I think it’s against the law to say “whisky” in Tyler. In my 23 years in Indiana, I did not see any more drunks than in Tyler. My Indiana hometown only had 14,000 people and probably had about 5-6 liquor stores. Indiana controls the number of stores by population. Therefore, liquor store availability was controlled. However, one did not have to drive far to buy their favorite concoction. Some really sad stories I remember in Tyler were that several times children were killed on the way to the county line near Kilgore to buy spirits. They were riding with their parents who probably should not have been on a highway. City streets are bad enough, but highways are infinitely more dangerous. We lived in Tyler a total of 10 years. Sadly, we heard the story with the children 4-5 different times. In all my years in Indiana, I did not know of one traffic death of children while going to the liquor store.
I do not often go to a liquor store. I think I have been to one once in the past year. I went to the one on I-30, just west of Rockwall. The traffic was so heavy and the parking lot was full and I had to park in the service road right of way. There is no doubt that many of those cars and trucks were from Rowlett. I saw several Rowlett high school stickers. One has to think about all that revenue that was flowing out of Rowlett…….including mine. I decided to do some research.
I found some statistics generated by The Perryman Group, a research firm out of Waco. I learned that a city of 25,000 with sales of alcoholic beverages generated $429,000 in local tax receipts. When factored up for a city of 57,000 (2.28 times), the sales tax number should be $978,120.00. Distilled spirits alone account for $280,440.00 of that amount. This is a significant contribution to the tax revenue of a community of our size. From Texas Petition Strategies I learned that 23 communities had elections in 2013 to determine the acceptance of new liquor law. Of the 23 elections, 21 passed. Passage failed in San Augustine and St. Paul.
As I led into this story, I said that morality was above my pay grade. I am a pretty good guy, but not a saint by any means. My life experiences do not suggest that local liquor stores, in modest amounts and under strict state controls, have had any adverse effect on my life style. I certainly like the contribution to the tax coffers. Rowlett could well use the tax income.
I signed the petition.
Anyone wishing to sign the petition can find a copy to sign at Nicks, The Track, Tationos, Hang Time, and Splits at the bowling alley.