Choose at the store counter

Richard Goeller
senior from
Glen Rock, N.J.

Recently, a new initiative has begun in Murray to bring alcohol to store shelves and relax other liquor laws. Titled as Grow Murray, a petition is being circulated for residents to sign to move this initiative forward. Alternatively, a counter movement Keep it Out of Murray, has sprung up in opposition of this liquor initiative.

To be blunt, I am completely bewildered and amazed by the shortsightedness and poor quality decision by those who support such an opposition to relaxed liquor laws and the allowance of packaged sales.

These same people may tell you that the economics aren’t right; alcohol would be detrimental to city businesses.

These opposition groups claim that DUIs will increase within the county, stretching police budgets. They say quality of life will decrease. They say it directly: no alcohol.

Well, on behalf of the moderate, self-respecting denizens of this city, I say: serve me. The first argument they make in regards to economics and the city is wrong. Murray would benefit from the tax revenue brought into the city by packaged liquor sales and the creation of actual bars. Murray has been in the red for a number of years now, and trying vigorously to find ways to create revenue and balance the budget. Why else would they float the idea of making University students purchase $50 city parking permits, on top of the University’s? The tax revenue that would be brought into the city and the state would provide immediate relief to fiscal difficulties it’s in. There is no logic in sending your potential tax revenue into a different county, let alone a different state, when you don’t have to. On top of that, more businesses would open in Murray. The 70-30 rule is constrictive and archaic.

It stifles potential businesses to be created in restaurants and liquor stores. (For those that are unaware, if you sell liquor at your restaurant, 70 percent of your final receipts have to be food and the other 30 percent can be liquor.) Actually, one could argue that the rule encourages business fraud.

I would not be surprised if any of the establishments in Murray met that rule, and instead, changed their books to reflect that they did. Why punish businesses and entrepreneurs with such a statute?

Then the argument comes after that is the idea, “There will be increased DUIs in the city.” How? If people can buy liquor locally, they don’t have to drive as far to get more liquor. Furthermore, if there was more access locally, people wouldn’t feel as inclined to go to Paris, Tenn., for a six-pack, or go to the 641 Club, or Cosmos, or whatever else is down in those parts.

This means people drive less overall. Potentially, this could also increase business for companies like Mama Nancy’s Cab Service, with increased ridership after the bars and liquor stores close. If anything, the number of DUIs would plateau considering the surrounding counties also sell alcohol.

This then leads to the final statement about “quality of life.” Ultimately, the quality of life issue is left up to each individual’s interpretation. I think my quality of life would improve.

I would have to spend less in gas to go get the beer, I could support the community with my tax money and I could support local businesses, instead of the guy down at the “Party Warehouse” (more like party garage) in Paris, who honestly doesn’t care about Murray or the county.

Those that feel it would decline, well, I implore you to write into this paper and explain how it would – I certainly can’t think of any reason how. And if this petition does pass, and the laws do change, I hope I don’t see you at the corner store, walking a walk you certainly didn’t … preach.