“Millions of dollars in tax revenue” — let’s look at the numbers

Progress Dallas, the group that brought us the petition drive for November’s pending wet-dry election, has changed its name to Keep the Dollars in Dallas. It’s claiming that the city loses $20 to $30 million annually in tax revenue that is spent on booze in wet suburbs like Addison.

Nothing like throwing numbers around to impress the voters. But is there any truth to it? Not really, but that attitude is probably why I wasn’t invited to yesterday’s news conference announcing the numbers. And let’s get the disclaimers out of the way first: I’m probably going to vote for both wet-dry ballot issues, and I’m not related to the Sigel’s liquor store chain.

But I want voters to make an intelligent decision, based on facts. And saying that going wet will bring in $20 to $30 million is a bit far fetched. The combined sales tax revenue for seven wet Dallas suburbs in 2009 (Plano, Irving, Addison, Duncanville, Richardson, De Soto, and Grand Prairie) was $184.5 million. The figures are on the state comptroller’s Web site — just type in the name of the city you want to check and add them up.

Does anyone really expect beer and wine sales to bring in one-sixth of those cities’ combined sales tax revenue?


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