The price for alcohol at bars and restaurants will be going up because of a tax increase in Fort Smith

Fort Smith, AR – The Fort Smith Board of Directors passed an ordinance that will double the current alcohol tax that’s been in place since 1969. The alcohol tax will go from 5% to 10% plus the city’s 9.75% percent sales tax. The board of directors did decide to hold off on implementing the alcohol tax increase until December of 2021 to give people more time to assess if this is something we need and because of the ongoing pandemic.

Trisha Crawford, bartender at Papa’s Pub and Pizzeria on Garrison Avenue, said:

“Obviously if we could go back to normal hours, normal capacity that would help out but still this liquor tax bringing our prices up, making everything harder still. We’re definitely going to have to raise the prices if the liquor tax goes up, which isn’t fun for the customers but it’s something we just have to do to stay on top of everything,” she said. “We don’t want to go under, we are a small, locally owned business.”

Director Kevin Settle said:

“We are very understanding of where they are at with what’s going on but the amount, we raised it at is also what other cities in the state of Arkansas, some of the larger cities have, so we are matching what they do. We need to continue to receive some fund on our police and fire departments. Obviously, with everything going on we need to make sure they are fully funded and so this was one of those ways we thought would be the best and have the least impact on everybody in the city.”

Settle says the money from the alcohol tax will go to fund public safety.

The Fort Smith Board of Directors did put a clause in the ordinance that will allow them to revisit the alcohol tax increase issue in October of 2021 ahead of it being put into place in December of 2021.

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