Albany Dems omit takeout plan, mayor’s budget check

Apparently the drinks are do not on this “house”.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s alcohol-to-go proposal could be in jeopardy after Democratic leaders in the state legislature intentionally failed to make the program permanent in their recently released state budget plans.

The Senate and State Assembly removed the measure from their “single budget” proposals — separate plans outlining each chamber’s preferred plan for spending state and federal dollars before the deadline for the state budget of April 1.

Take-out drinks have provided a lifeline for bars and other food establishments during the most severe of New York’s coronavirus-related business shutdowns, which have dramatically reduced sales and triggered mass layoffs in the service sector .

Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed making carryout alcohol permanent and requiring the State Liquor Authority to write regulations for the delivery of beer, wine and cocktails.
Lev Radin

Hochul’s proposal would install the program permanently and require the State Liquor Authority to develop and implement regulations allowing delivery and takeout of beer, wine and cocktails.

“It’s a piece of politics, so we took it out – we’ll have that discussion,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) told reporters in Albany on Monday when asked why. the idea had been ruled out.

State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) also said lawmakers determined the plan had no financial impact and would not be picked up as part of the state budget.

Speaker of the Assembly Carl Heastie
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the proposal was removed from the budget because it was a policy item.
Hans Pennink

She said it would likely be discussed with Hochul after the state budget is approved by April 1.

But New York State Restaurant Association President Melissa Fleischut told the Post that she disagrees with the legislature’s decision because selling take-out beverages boosts state revenue through sales and excise taxes.

“It’s important that this be included in the budget process because, honestly, we really needed this back in place weeks ago,” she said.

Woman holding beer
Selling takeout drinks was a lifeline for bars and restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stephane Yang

“We needed this last summer and any delay in achieving this is a problem for the industry. The industry stabilized in December and January. It would have provided a boost when we needed it during this slow period.

She noted that one of the biggest hurdles comes from the lobbying efforts of powerful liquor store business groups who argue that take-out liquor has taken away revenue from liquor stores during the pandemic.

“What we’re trying to do is look at things that consumers have really embraced, like ‘alcohol on the go’ and outdoor dining. The demand for both is there and if we can keep doing both it will gain momentum sooner – but even then it will take years between staffing and supply chains to fully recover.

Mayor Eric Adams
Albany lawmakers also removed a four-year extension of the mayor’s control of city schools requested by Mayor Eric Adams.
Matthew McDermott

“There are a myriad of issues that need to be resolved with the state liquor board. We shouldn’t just deal with this proposal alone,” Savino said, acknowledging opposition from the liquor store lobby.

Meanwhile, both houses also removed Hochul’s proposed four-year extension of the mayor’s control over city schools, which is backed and strongly sought by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

It is due to expire by the end of the legislative session in June.

“It has always been the position of the assembly to advance the control of the mayor. I wouldn’t be nervous if it wasn’t in the resolution. It doesn’t expire until the end of June,” Heastie said, doubling down on a desire to remove political elements from the budget.

The legislature has generally withheld control of the mayor as a source of political influence over city mayors, forcing the Big Apple’s chief executive to travel to Albany, appealing to lawmakers for legislation.

But the move also comes at a time when Heastie is vigorously opposing Adams’ demand to change New York’s controversial criminal justice reforms, such as bail reform and the “Raise the Age” law.

More and more lawmakers are warming to the idea of ​​making changes to the law following a series of cases where people were released without bail after committing crimes, only to reoffend soon after.

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