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Legislative Memo

Heather Briccetti
Vice President, Government Affairs
T 518.465.7517 x203
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.5787 (Krueger) / A.8632-A (Morelle)

  Support

SUBJECT:

The Wine Industry and Liquor Industry Revitalization Act

 

S.5787 (Krueger) / A.8632-A (Morelle)

DATE:

June 16, 2009

 

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., is the leading business organization in New York State, representing the interests of large and small firms throughout the state.  We strongly support this legislation which would enhance the economic development opportunities of New York's wine and liquor industries. 

This legislation would strongly advance the interests of New York's small businesses, agricultural interests, consumers and taxpayers. It resolves issues of competitiveness and youth access raised by earlier proposals.

The legislation creates more jobs and businesses in many sectors, including the wine industry and liquor stores. It protects small businesses by introducing provisions that will improve economic safety for existing liquor stores. It helps consumers by creating shopping choices and by saving them an estimated $80 million a year.  It protects young people and reduces youth access to alcohol by creating what may be the nation's most comprehensive carding law. And it strengthens state finances, by generating $160 million over two years without increasing taxes or fees.

The bill is a compromise that specifically addresses concerns raised previously in response to narrower budget legislation that only would have allowed wine sales in grocery stores without providing balance or benefits for existing liquor stores.

The bill eases Prohibition-era restrictions on liquor stores. Liquor stores now could:

The bill protects kids. Every retail sale of an alcoholic beverage must include a review of valid age identification. This may be the most aggressive proofing standard in the nation.

The bill gives liquor stores medallions, increasing the value of their business. The liquor store operator would also have the option to obtain an additional license or acquire further additional licenses from other stores or the state.  This new process gives stores a significant new asset and a “safety net” against business losses.  Under current law, owners of a store that closes have little of value other than inventory and property.  

The bill creates and protects jobs. The legislation evens the competitive playing field and liquor stores are given new opportunities for growth, as well as medallions to protect investment.  Allowing more wine sale outlets would create 2,000 new jobs in wineries and related businesses.

The bill will boost New York's wine industry. More options for wine sales would help New York regain its national leadership in winemaking. Once behind only California in production, we have been passed by Washington and may soon trail Oregon. That's in part because other states have many more wine retail outlets per person.

The bill helps consumers. Consumers would save at least $80 million a year as the number of retail outlets for wine increases. Consumers support this idea by 2-to-1.

The bill helps taxpayers by generating revenues without new taxes. The state would receive $160 million in new revenues in the first two years – without any new broad-based states. A new tax on the sale of medallions would generate additional revenues for the state. And the state would gain revenues because it would no longer lose as many sales to other states.

For these reasons, the Business Council strongly supports this legislation.