This advertorial has been paid for by the Louisiana Economic Growth Committee. The views below do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishing staff of the Lincoln Parish Journal.
As Ruston approaches voting this Saturday on the referendum to approve expanded alcohol sales, the bottom-line facts are quite simple:
- Propositions 1,2 and 5 on the ballot are already allowed and were decided by Ruston voters 20 years ago.
- That decision led to significant local economic growth, with no adverse effects or unintended consequences.
- On March 25, residents have another opportunity to drive further economic growth by allowing stores 15,000 square feet or larger, who also sell other products, to sell higher quality wine, beer and spirits. That means Super 1, both Walmart’s, Ruston Groceries, Super Saver, and possibly one more grocery store that is considering coming to Ruston. That’s it.
- Without the ability to sell higher quality wine, beer and spirits, Ruston’s ability to attract additional new grocery stores will be significantly limited, which affects overall economic growth in the long-term.
- A small handful of suddenly vocal people are now claiming that if Ruston also votes to allow a few bars to potentially open in Ruston’s downtown entertainment district, that will surely tarnish Ruston’s image. But the City Council has already passed the toughest limitations in the state on where and how close bars could be located in downtown Ruston, if any are even proposed, and they would also have to be approved by the Planning and Zoning Office.
- And the “bar facts” are clear. We already have several bars downtown that also serve food, proving that the restaurant business model works if the establishment is well run. But the only true bar Ruston had closed decades ago, and even though low-alcohol-content bars have been legal in Ruston since 2002, not one has opened. The notion of Ruston being suddenly overrun with bars ignores the strict limitations in place, and is just a scare tactic being used in the absence of logic and facts.
- On the economics side, Ruston is losing out on the benefit of local sales revenues and the taxes generated by those revenues to the tune of $1.5 million a year, and probably more, for no good reason. People are still buying alcoholic beverages, they’re just buying them somewhere else.
It’s 2023, and Ruston has an opportunity to again adopt minor changes that could provide big economic and convenience benefits for the community, and the risks, if any, are small and easily managed.
More than 3,000 Ruston residents chose to call this election, and their voices should not be silenced, and the economic opportunities should not be lost, because a small, last-minute, suddenly vocal minority is trotting out the same vague opposition arguments that were made 20 years ago and have clearly been proven false.
Ruston’s growth during the past two decades has been steady, smart, planned and well-managed. There is no reason, or evidence, to suggest that two minor changes to local laws are going to change the character of the city in a negative way. History here in Ruston, and in many other communities across Louisiana that have adopted similar changes, has proven such claims false.
Please support economic growth, shopping convenience, and keeping local dollars local. Vote to adopt all five Propositions on the ballot and help keep Ruston moving forward.
This advertorial has been paid for by the Louisiana Economic Growth Committee. Go to http://www.LouisianaEGC.org for more information.