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Beverage Association: Forcing LR clubs/bars to shut down at 2 a.m. would impact ones open North of the River

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Such is also the rule of legislation being considered in the City of Little Rock. If it passes, then it might lead to more late night drivers going into clubs selling alcohol in Sherwood, Jacksonville, Maumelle and in areas surrounding North Little Rock.

The Little Rock City Board has indicated they may consider an ordinance requiring the clubs to close at 2 a.m. even though they possess a 5 a.m. permit from the State of Arkansas.

On Jan. 7, the Arkansas Licensed Beverage Association issued a statement stating closing these Little Rock businesses at 2 a.m. would have negative repercussions.

Most of the association’s arguments state that Little Rock changing the rule would have a negative impact on the city’s economy.

“The Arkansas Licensed Beverage Association has recently compiled the statistics regarding the potential adverse impact on the private clubs and the city of Little Rock,” states the association’s press release. “There is a very real danger that the clubs will lose between 60 percent and 75 percent of their business and potentially be forced to shut down altogether.”

A study of the economic impact indicates that even if they are able to maintain a portion of their business, they will potentially still be looking at laying off roughly 153 individuals representing over $1.3 million in salaries.

Many of these 150 plus individuals all have families, children, living and healthcare expenses.

The five largest private clubs in Little Rock clubs consisting of The Electric Cowboy, Midtown Billiards, Discovery, Elevations and Triniti pay over $98,000 annually in city taxes, $473,500.00 in state taxes some of which helps fund UAMS.

“In addition to the taxes paid, the private clubs pay over $17,300 annually in fees and permits to the city and the state,” according to the press release.

Association spokesman Andy Crawford said these clubs have employees who live in North Little Rock and surrounding communities who could be negatively impacted.

“It will also potentially impact the clubs in North Little Rock, Maumelle, Sherwood, and Jacksonville because if this passes the only late night entertainment places left after 2 a.m. will be in Sherwood, Jacksonville, and on the outskirts of North Little Rock and Maumelle,” said Andy Crawford.

Andy Crawford added, “It would also open the door for other cities to consider potentially a similar measure as well as Pulaski County which would then affect these areas as well and potentially shut down the bars/ private clubs in these areas and cause a loss of sales tax revenue to the county, and cities. Just like it will do for Little Rock and Pulaski county now if the city of Little Rock considers and passes this measure.”

According to the press release, the clubs purchase approximately $1,2 million in goods, services, advertising and spirits, wine and beer from numerous local and state vendors.

“At the very time that Little Rock is searching diligently for revenue sources to augment shrinking budgets, it does not seem prudent to force the loss of over 150 jobs and deplete a valuable source of revenue,” states the release.

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