Passing referendum has consequences

April 24, 2014

There are many very important reasons for opposing the county-wide beer and wine referendum besides religious ones.

One of the most compelling reasons is that it robs each community of the right to decide for itself, and allows those who do not live in a community to determine the destiny of those who do. It also puts communities that have not incorporated into a township in danger of attracting bars that attract customers who do abuse alcohol and cannot be controlled, since there is no local police force. It also makes areas just outside the townships open to other disreputable establishments who want to offer alcohol to their patrons and do not want to be bothered with any regulations.

Passing either wine or malt (beer) will take away forever the right of a community to get rid of it or keep it out. Another compelling reason to oppose the amendments is the problems they will bring to a community that will not be organized to deal with them. According to the DA’s office, most of the DWI’s in the county are originating in the White Lake area at private house parties; we all pay for this. Life insurance and health insurance for police will be needed. More taxes from all of us will be needed to pay for these things.

If a community does not have zoning rules in place, disreputable bars may spring up anywhere in the community. Citizens, who hold a true conviction against participating in the sale of alcohol, will be forced to quit their jobs in establishments that begin to sell or serve it or violate their consciences to provide food for their families.

Businessmen may say, “Our county and town will get more tax money.” I say that, though it may earn money for the individual businesses that sell it, it will cost everyone else in the county extra tax dollars. Statistics show that cities and towns that try to incorporate alcohol establishments into their tax base end up spending more money for added police or for establishing a police department than they earn from the sale of the alcohol. This is one reason that the law requires there be a citizen count of a particular number in order to hold a referendum on alcohol use in a township or county. There must be a large enough tax base in place to provide the needed police force.

Although I am in favor of the sales tax increase referendum so that all share the tax burden equally, I do realize it is on the ballot because, if the beer and wine referendum passes, the county commissioners know our taxes will have to increase to cover the DWI court costs and other related expenses. Property owners, take heed. Those of us in the county communities that are not incorporated will have to depend on an already thin beige line of county officers and our limited number of Highway Patrol, or our county will have to raise everyone’s taxes to provide more officers and more cars, etc.

I encourage the citizens in the townships that have already voted to have beer and wine to vote against it. Those who want it will lose business to the county and possibly other townships. They will have fewer alcohol tax dollars to combat the problems the increased sale and use of alcohol has already brought to their townships.

There is another very important consideration that each voter must weigh when voting on the beer and wine referendums: When a community puts its stamp of approval on any act, we are saying to our children and teens and young adults that this act is good. Also, many view anything legal as “also moral or OK.” If that were so, we would still have slavery in America and women would not have the right to vote.

A vote for the increased use and sale of alcohol means that the voter is participating in the results of that vote. We already have DWI’s flooding our county court. Many children and wives and even some husbands are suffering from the results of family members abusing alcohol. Moms and dads are dealing with the deaths of their children as a result of someone driving under the influence of alcohol.

We all know that many die from alcohol related car accidents every year. We also know that use of beer and wine leads to some people drinking stronger liquor and becoming alcoholics. I honestly believe that if I vote for alcohol, or produce it, or sell it, then I am becoming a party to all the evils that result from someone abusing that alcohol.

My vote has consequences. I am responsible. A large percentage of our population cannot successfully deal with alcohol use. I will not put a stumbling block in their path with my vote. What will you do with your vote?


Jane T. Pait

White Oak