Change NJ Liquor Laws - Pass Bill (A1505)
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Passage of this bill is key to fair development of our communities and opportunity for our youth and local entrepreneurs. Current liquor laws are causing certain neighborhoods to stagnate. By limiting the number of licenses available, a license becomes a commodity with a staggering price that only existing successful businesses and high rolling investors can afford. The resulting tendency is for chains and corporate-owned establishments to take over neighborhoods, or even worse, ignore undeveloped parts of town in favor of neighborhoods that are already high rent.
Many of these neighborhoods are overripe for economic development, and the residents are waiting to have local businesses to support. But only entities that can afford the high rent neighborhoods can also afford a liquor license. So no one opens eateries, which are known to anchor neighborhoods so that other businesses such as boutiques and bakeries can look forward to foot traffic. The neighborhoods remain food deserts with nowhere to shop for anything else either.
The bill would allow unlimited licenses to be issued but they would be restricted to only restaurants that occupy a minimum of 1,500sf to a maximum of 6,000sf and allow alcohol to be sold only at tables in connection with food service up to 10pm (or 11pm on weekends). The bill also incorporates a tax credit to be given to people who have already purchased high-priced licenses, so it won’t cause unfairness to those who were able to be players under the existing system during the transition.
We want to see locally run businesses thrive in our neighborhoods bringing quality of life, entrepreneurial opportunity and jobs. We do not want a food desert, nor only chains that deliver sub-par product and pay minimum wage or worse. Therefore we encourage passage of any bill that will relax the liquor laws to make licenses available to anyone who qualifies, not just to those who can afford them.
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