A similar debate took place recently in North Ogden over whether a restaurant's alcohol license should be allowed. There was a lot of sound and fury over safety and alcohol-related problems for a society, but when it came to a vote nearly two of every three people in this solidly LDS town opted to let Demon Rum into the city boundaries.
They were probably guided by a sense of "joining the 21st Century" and religious teachings of free agency. But I also figure they understood economics. Sales produce sales tax, and sales tax reduces the local tax burden. Retail sales of beer in Utah, for instance, accounts for more than 58 percent of the $289 million direct economic impact (wages and taxes). Beer itself constitutes 11 percent of total sales of an average Utah convenience store.
The question is not whether Wal-Mart will build a store without a beer license. The real question for the future is how Syracuse will be able to attract quality restaurants and other grocery-related outlets unless it veers from modern-day Prohibi-tion.
A similar question was played out in Utah County last month when a small residential city agreed on a 3-2 City Council vote to allow beer sales. (The town was losing revenue to an adjacent city.) In another case, one Utah restaurant -- Iggy's Sports Grill -- will build in North Logan if the city changes its no-alcohol ordinance. If the city doesn't change -- and a city survey indicates people want it to change -- Iggy's will relocate one block away in the Logan City limits, re-routing sales tax from North Logan.
If a city wants to stand firm on principle, fine. But before Syracuse voted against changing its ban, it should have held a representative vote to find out what the residents really thought.
Arriving in Davis County from the Midwest, Ernst is employed in the technology sector-and prefers to be surrounded by Republicans.