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Rogers City Council Considers Liquor by the Drink Tax

A proposed tax on liquor by the drink in Rogers is rubbing some businesses the wrong way.
Rogers, AR - A proposed tax on liquor by the drink in Rogers is rubbing some businesses the wrong way.

City council members are considering the 4 percent tax at their Tuesday meeting, but Hyatt Place Manager Annette Nichols wants them to wait before making a decision.
"This is going to hurt a lot of the hospitality business and the restaurants," she says. "It's a four percent tax that was not discussed when they approved liquor by the drink, or when the county went wet."

Nichols says a $6 drink at her hotel runs up a $2 tax bill, and with liquor stores moving in guests at the hotel may decide that total is too high.

"We hear from customers all the time the moment they get their bill they are in shock," she says. "They would especially like to go just buy a bottle of alcohol and go back and stay in their room versus sit at our bar."

The city council approved liquor by the drink in August, allowing hotels and restaurants to sell hard alcohol without a private club license. Those private clubs pay a five percent tax on beer, wine and liquor sales.

Mayor Greg Hines says if each of the businesses transfer their licenses to liquor by the drink, Rogers will lose about $550,000 in tax revenue per year.

"In a $40 million budget, a half a million dollars is a pretty significant hit," he says. "You're looking at generating from this 4 percent tax, somewhere around $130,000 a year."

Hines says the proposed tax will be lower than what customers are already paying, while helping curb the city's revenue loss.

"It's still a major savings," he says. "It's still a tax break. It doesn't really matter how you look at it, it's a tax break."
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