Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz has fired off a statement criticizing Governor Paterson’s proposal to sell wine permits to grocery stores, bodegas, and gas stations. Statewide it would introduce 19,000 new outlets for wine shoppers and bring in millions of dollars in permit sales, but the assemblyman said the increase in underage drinking and drunk driving makes it a bad deal.
What do you think? And how will it contribute to Sheepshead Bay’s problems, which we’ve noted suffers from a ridiculous number of wine and spirit shops and has unusually high drunk driving statistics?
From Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’s office (as usual with press releases, just imagine a big, fat [sic] next to the entire thing):
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) has termed Governor Paterson’s proposal, part of today’s budget message to the Legislature, “a dangerous scheme to raise money at the expense of the wellbeing of New Yorkers. While the initial sale of new wine merchant licenses will realize millions of dollars for the State, it is a onetime revenue raiser that puts our state’s residents at peril for decades to come.
Cymbrowitz was referring to the Governor, once again including a plan to allow grocery stores, gas stations, bodegas, mini-marts and corner delis to sell wine, as part of his budget balancing strategy. “By proposing a plan to legalize wine sales in 19,0000 new outlets, Governor Paterson has once again made a terrible mistake that will only increase underage drinking, lead to more drunk driving, and hurt small businesses across New York State. There is no question that New Yorkers will be put in danger with this misguided attempt to bring in more revenue. Currently the State Liquor Authority has only 38 inspectors regulating 70,000 license holders. Increasing the inspection team’s workload by almost one-third is a recipe for disaster.”
“We found out just this month that teenagers were able to buy illegal “nutcrackers” at bodegas in New York City. Now, Governor Paterson wants to reward these same stores by allowing them to sell wine – which we know full well will only lead to more sales to minors.
New York already spends $3.2 billion every year on underage drinking – we should be looking for ways to reduce this serious problem, not make it worse,” Cymbrowitz continued.
Cymbrowitz pointed out that, “This fiscal gimmick would allow teenagers to have easier access to wine often sold by clerks and cashiers under the legal drinking age. This is why a coalition of all of the state’s major law enforcement representatives, including the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the New York State Troopers’ Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the New York State Sheriff’s Association, joined together last year and are committed to fighting this devastating proposal. Regardless of the extent of New York’s budget deficit, making alcohol purchases easier for our children is not the answer to the state’s fiscal problems.”
“While the Governor’s proposal will bring in additional revenue this fiscal year, we know that more than 1,000 Mom-and-Pop stores around the state will be forced to close, and more than 4,500 jobs will be lost in the worst economy in generations. These job losses will cost hundreds of additional union sales and delivery jobs for Teamsters and UFCW members. Beyond the safety issue this is a job-killing idea that should be rejected,” Cymbrowitz explained. “I urge the Governor to withdraw this reckless idea. If he doesn’t, I will work with my colleagues in the Legislature to reject it once again.”