How would Sunday alcohol sales impact economy?
Published 12:46 pm Monday, February 22, 2016
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
Shelby County and its municipalities would see an increase in sales tax revenue and some local businesses would see a rise in sales if voters agree to allow alcohol sales after noon on Sundays, according to a study commissioned by the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber has been working with Dr. B. Brian Motii, an associate professor of economics at the University of Montevallo’s M.E. Stephens College of Business, for the past several weeks to study the economic impact of repealing the county’s blue laws.
The Chamber released the study a little more than a week before Shelby County voters will decide if they will allow the sale of alcoholic beverages at area retailers and restaurants after noon on Sundays. The issue will be on both Republican and Democrat ballots during the March 1 primary election, and polls will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
If voters agree to allow Sunday alcohol sales, it will end the county’s current private club license system dealing with Sunday sales. Sunday alcohol sales currently are outlawed in Shelby County for businesses without a private club license.
The state Alcoholic Beverage Control board did away with private club licenses several years ago, but grandfathered in businesses already holding the licenses at the request of state legislators.
While some Shelby County businesses currently hold private club licenses through the grandfather clause, new businesses are not able to obtain the licenses.
According to the study, more than $107 million in consumer spending is taken outside of Shelby County each year in the “Food service and drinking places” retail category.
“These gaps are an indication of a leakage (shortage) in the market that is satisfied by outside-of-the-area businesses,” read the study. “The majority of the reported evidence from existing interviews with business owners and opinions of local authorities across different states, as well as Shelby County, which are reported by local newspapers, suggest that Shelby County’s economy suffers from the ban of alcohol sales.”
If Sunday sales are allowed, it could result in about $11 million in additional consumer spending each year in Shelby County, and could lead to the creation of 171 new jobs, according to the study. It also could result in $436,775 more in tax revenue for Alabama, $109,194 more in tax revenue for Shelby County and about $436,775 more for most Shelby County municipalities each year, the study read.
The study says lifting the Sunday sales ban likely will lead to higher overall alcohol consumption in Shelby County.
“However, there is no strong evidence to suggest it has significant impact on accident fatalities,” read the study.