Alcohol and Asheboro: Get the Facts!

TAX REVENUE... WITHOUT RAISING TAXES

State law requires that profits from ABC stores go to the city general fund, substance abuse treatment and law enforcement.

The Randleman ABC store generates revenue for the City of Randleman equal to 7 cents on the property tax.

The Randleman ABC store alone pumped $318,042 in revenue into local government in 2007, and $1.4 million over the last five years.

Revenue from the Randleman ABC store accounts for 5 percent of the Randleman city budget.

Law enforcement has received more than $55,000 from the Randleman ABC store over the past five years.

Statewide in 2006, ABC stores returned more than $37 million in tax revenue to their communities.

QUALITY OF LIFE

The Albemarle police chief says that Albemarle has seen no increase in DWIs after passing legal alcohol sales, but that the city does have more and better restaurants.

The mayor of Thomasville says that legal alcohol sales have not hurt the quality of life in his community; nor has he observed and increase in crime or DWI. But new restaurants have opened, both national chains (including a Ruby Tuesday) and locally-owned.

State law requires that establishments that sell alcohol by the drink must receive a significant amount of their profits from food sales.

Businesses selling alcohol are subject to local zoning and business regulations.

SAFETY AND HEALTH

Research conclusively shows that DWI arrest rates and alcohol-related traffic fatalities are higher in "dry" counties than in "wet" counties.

Statewide in 2006, ABC stores returned to their communities $2,198,942 for alcohol rehabilitation, $7,369,983 for alcohol education, and $6,105,656 for law enforcement. In Asheboro, the only residential substance abuse treatment center closed due to budget cuts.

For local police departments in 2007, DWI arrest rates were far lower in longtime "wet" Salisbury, Sanford and Thomasville than in "dry" Asheboro. The rate in "wet" Lexington was about the same as in Asheboro.

"Dry" Asheboro's DWI arrest rate is more than double that of "wet" Greensboro and almost double that of High Point.

The researcher who created the "alcohol cost calculator" says local opponents of alcohol sales are misusing it, and that distance "is not a significant barrier" to alcohol consumption.

Costs of obesity and tobacco use dramatically exceed those associated even with overindulgence in alcohol.

JOBS AND THE ECONOMY

Asheboro has lost thousands of manufacturing jobs and hundred of people have been laid off this year alone; since the failed 1994 alcohol referendum, Black & Decker, Shana Knitware, Fox Apparel, Champagne Dye Works and Sara Lee plants in Asheboro have closed.

The county's standard of living is declining: median household income dropped from $38,348 in 2000 to $36,824 in 2005; and the poverty rate increased from 9.1 percent in 2000 to 14.6 percent in 2005.

The Business Journal of the Triad reports that a major national hotel company has long expressed interest in a conference center near the NC Zoo, and that the lack of legal alcohol sales in Asheboro is the only stumbling block.

A major conference/cutural center is planned for the N.C. Zoo that could bring as many as 350 jobs to the community, but legal alcohol sales are a critical factor in attracting investors in the project.

In the last 15 years, seven national restaurant chains and two national hotel chains have decided against locating in Asheboro, primarily because of the lack of legal alcohol sales.

Other economic consequences: local hoteliers say that the lucrative tour bus industry bypasses Asheboro because of limited restaurant choices and the fact that alcohol is not available in restaurants. They also say that many times, out-of-town guests check in and, learning that they can't have a drink with dinner, check out and go to Greensboro.

Facts, not Fear!

FEAR: Opponents will tell you that there will be more DWIs in Asheboro if we legalize the sale of alcohol.

FACT: Scientific Research shows that counties that are "dry" do not have fewer DWIs. In fact, those who drive after drinking drive farther distances in "dry" counties, increasing their, and our, exposure to an accident. Please read the studies available here.

FACT: Rates of DWI arrests as compared to the population are HIGHER in Asheboro and Randolph County than in Greensboro and Guilford County. For example, the Asheboro Police Department made 187 DWI arrests in 2007. Asheboro has an estimated population of approximately 24,130 (US Census Bureau) for a DWI/population rate of .00774. The Greensboro Police Department made 798 DWI arrests in 2007 and has an estimated population of 236,865 (US Census Bureau) for a DWI/population rate of .00337, less than half of Asheboro’s. Countywide, Randolph County had more DWI arrests per our population than Guilford County in 2007. Learn more.

FEAR: Opponents will tell you that revenues from the sale of alcohol will be less than the money we’ll have to spend on alcohol related problems.

FACT: The law requires profits from ABC Stores to go to the City General Fund, Law Enforcement, and Substance Abuse Treatment. Approximately 5% of the City Budget for Randleman comes from profits from its ABC store. The ability to buy a bottle of wine when shopping or to have a glass with dinner will not increase the number of alcohol related problems. The Police Chief of Albemarle said there had been NO INCREASE in DWIs after passing the legal sale of alcohol. The only change the Police Chief noted: MORE and BETTER RESTAURANTS OPENED.

FACT: The alcohol "cost calculator" repeatedly used by the opponents to discuss how much legalizing alcohol might cost the city is being misused, according to the researcher at George Washington University who created it and maintains it. David Anderson, an alcohol researcher affirms that he is not aware of evidence that legalizing the sale of alcohol will increase alcohol related health problems and costs. The researcher’s e-mail on the subject includes the following quotation, "The most likely reality is that people in Asheboro drink about as much now as they would if the town were wet. Having to drive 5 or 20 minutes is not, in my estimation, a significant barrier to alcohol consumption. If anything, being dry may contribute to more alcohol-related accidents because people are driving further to go to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. Asheboro might be better off allowing alcohol sales while at the same time implementing effective regulations and prevention and treatment programs." Read the email.

FACT: Asheboro’s alcohol detox center was closed due to budget cuts.

FEAR: Opponents will tell you that there will be a bar on every corner.

FACT: The Asheboro Planning and Community Development Department and Asheboro City Council will be zoning property, and setting regulations for businesses selling alcohol. Further, businesses selling alcohol must get permits from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC Commission), and comply with local requirements and state statutes regarding amount of profits that must come from food sales.