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Liquor Store Owners Unite Against Proposed Wine Tax

By WKTV News

VERONA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Liquor store owners state wide came together Thursday to fight Governor Patterson's proposal to allow the sale of wine in any store that sells beer.

Currently, New York State law states that wine and liquor can only be sold in liquor stores. Although, as an effort to create revenue and fight the $15 billion state budget deficit, the Governor wants to make wine available in grocery stores, drug stores, and any store that sells beer.

The revenue would be created through licensing fees and franchise fees.

This proposal makes liquor store owners fear they will lose business and possibly be forced to close their doors. The owner of The Liquor Loft, in Washington Mills, said last month that wine sales are nearly 90% of his business.
    
Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, who spoke at the Turning Stone Casino before the "Last Store on Main Street," a group on liquor store owners, offered a possible alternative Thursday.
    
Destito suggested a "broad based, more progressive way of taxing New Yorkers.
    
"Sales taxes that just nickel and dime working families is not the solution," Destito said.
    
Destito says the proposed change in wine sales is estimated to generate over $100 million. Destito says beyond creating revenue, a change in the law would create more work for the already busy New York State Liquor Authority.
    
One state law enforcement official agreed Thursday.
   
"It is a lot more difficult for a young person to work up the courage to walk into a (liquor) store where they know they are there to get one thing."
    
"As opposed to walking into a deli where you could hide certain amounts of alcohol, wine for example, in with a bunch of different commodities that they can get there." said Dan Sisto, Chairman of Law Enforcement Against Drunk Driving.
       
Destito says she thinks the legislature will take up this particular part of the budget in March, and doesn't anticipate the final budget being passed before April.

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