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Another round of hard liquor in supermarkets

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State lawmakers are again reviving a measure that would allow the sale of wine and hard liquor in supermarkets and drug stores.

The bill, first proposed by Governor David Paterson as a way to bring in as much as $160 million in revenue to state coffers, was not included in the final Fiscal Year 2010 budget.

However, Manhattan Sen. Liz Krueger recently reintroduced the measurewith some caveats for liquor store owners.

“This bill addresses some of the antiquated laws that affect liquor stores such as it allows them tosell amenities such as beer nuts, chips and even a cork screw,” said Krueger spokesperson Kyle Sklerov.

Sklerov said additionally the new proposal will allow liquor stores to sell wholesale wine and liquor to restaurants and catering halls in the district. Currently, only liquor wholesalers are allowed to do this, he said.

The new proposal has 11 co-sponsors, including Brooklyn Senators Martin Dilan, Carl Kruger, John Sampson and Kevin Parker.

“The Wine Industry and Liquor Store Revitalization Act will provide a much-needed boost to industries that are critical to New York State’s economy,” said Sen. Kruger. “This long-overdue measure is an important mechanism for securing our fiscal future by jump-starting businesses that are equipped to fuel further growth.”

But Michael Correra, chair of the Metropolitan Package Store Association (MPSA) and owner of Michael Towne Wines & Spirits, located at 73 Clarke Street in Brooklyn Heights, said the organization he represents remains completely against the idea.

“In (Sen. Krueger’s) eyes, it’s a compromise bill, but we look at it as the same thing, and both the Assembly and Senate already knocked it down so why reintroduce this?” said Correra.

Correra alleged that the powerful supermarket lobby was behind the new legislation.

“This is something the community doesn’t want. Parents don’t want liquor sold in a grocery where they take their kids to buy milk and cookies,” he said.

On the Assembly side, the bill was introduced by Democratic Assembly member Joseph Morelle, who represents the Rochester area.

The measure also has the support of many upstate wineries, as well as Kenneth Adams, former president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and current president of The Business Council of New York State.

But Bay Ridge Assembly member Peter Abbate said almost all of his Brooklyn colleagues are against the proposal.

“I just think the bill will hurt the small businessman who owns liquor stores throughout the state,” said Abbate. “The statewill get a fee, but then these small stores will go out of business, people will not be working and will go on unemployment and not paying income tax.”

Sklerov said the measure is expected to be debated when the legislature reconvenes in January.

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