Alcohol Beverage Tax generates record numbers in the month of March

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro Alcohol Beverage Tax brought in $31,798 for the month of March. It's a toast to the most money ever brought in be the tax. It's been around for just over four years with the funds pouring back right into the city.

If the city thought last years totals were good, Jonesboro Chief Financial Officer Ben Barylske says the Alcohol Beverage Tax is bringing in record numbers in 2012 with March topping the charts.

"March is almost at 32-thousand dollars. So these are the highest numbers we ever had," said Barylske.

The money from the tax pours into the general fund, which is used for operations within several departments.

"The police department, our fire department, sanitation, parks department, planning and zoning," said Barylske just to name a few.

The Alcoholic Beverage Tax originated in 2007, which came from liquor sales from a list of 17 businesses. It brought in around 97-thousand dollars. Just four years later and an additional 14 or so businesses, the tax in 2011 generated 336-thousand dollars.

"These funds, this 336 thousand dollars last year and so far today 91-thousand, helps operate our city, for sure," said Barylske.

Barylske says the money can also be used towards economic development. And in the early years of the tax, the revenue from the tax was useful.

"When the economy was really bad in 2008, sales tax revenues were 2-million shorter than what was projected because of the economy and what happened on Wall Street. So this at that time helped fill holes," said Barylske.

As for the benefits for 2012, even with the sale tax revenue already so high, Barylske says it's hard to tell.

But what he does know is..."It gives us more flexibility, obviously yes, for guns, vests, or guns, or copy machines," said Barylske.

Barylske says one factor that played a part in the record numbers includes the money brought in by new businesses such as Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse.

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