Legislation that would require out-of-state shipments of alcohol to be housed in New York warehouses for 48 hours would drive up costs and may put state wine and spirit makers out of business, store owners said Tuesday.
Many state wine and spirit distributors warehouse their wines in places like New Jersey, where it is cheaper. The proposed “at rest” legislation would require alcohol that is being sold in-state to be warehoused in-state for 48 hours, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.
But the “Stop the Cork Tax” coalition, a group of 37 New York wine and spirit businesses, said Tuesday that the legislation benefits only large wholesalers and would drive up costs for consumers.
The legislation was introduced last year and didn’t pass the Legislature.
“We are terribly against ‘at rest,” because one of the ways we are able to operate and employ 45 people is by keeping our costs low. If this legislation were to go through, we would be forced to, at the very least, lay off many of our workers, if not completely close our doors.” Constance Oehmler, one of the founding partners of Verity Wine Partners, a 240-member group of state distributors, said during a conference call.
Oehmler said warehousing wines in-state would cost double to triple the amount it costs to use out-of-state warehouses.
Supporters said the legislation would also add jobs by requiring the warehousing of goods in New York. It would also ensure taxes are collected, the bill memo said.
“At a time when the state’s economy is revitalizing, New York should seek to capitalize on opportunities which ensure that tax revenues are collected,” the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Joe Lentol, D-Brooklyn, and Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County.
Lentol said in a statement that the bill would help New York compete with other states. But he said he was willing to work with those who have concerns.
“The intent of the legislation is to create a fair playing field for New York as we compete against neighboring states, but I am not looking to hurt the consumer or hinder the success of a New York industry,” Lentol said in a statement. “I will make sure to review all information on this issue to clarify what course is best for the state.”
For more information on the “Stop the Cork Tax” coalition, visit www.stopthecorktax.com