Albany Dems waive takeout booze plan, mayor’s control of budget

Apparently the drinks not to this “house”.

Governor Kathy Hochul “Alcohol-to-go” suggestion could be in jeopardy after Democratic leaders in the state legislature deliberately failed to make the program permanent in their newly released state budget plans.

Both the State Senate and the Assembly struck out measure up from their “one house budget” proposals — separate blueprints outlining each chamber’s preferred plan to spend state and federal dollars ahead of the April 1 state budget deadline.

Take-out beverages provided a lifeline for bars and other dining establishments during the worst of New York’s coronavirus-related shutdowns, which severely curtailed sales and sparked mass layoffs in the service industry.

Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul proposed making to-go liquor permanent and asking the state alcohol board to draft regulations for the supply of beer, wine and cocktails.
Lev Radin

Hochul’s proposal would make the program permanent and require the state Alcohol Board to develop and implement regulations that allow for the delivery and take-out of beer, wine and cocktails.

“That’s a political point, so we took that out — we’re going to have that discussion,” assembly spokesman Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx) told reporters in Albany on Monday when asked why the idea was excluded.

State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) also said lawmakers determined the plan had no financial impact and would not be included in the state budget.

Congregation Speaker Carl Heastie
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the proposal was dropped from the budget because it was a political issue.
Hans Penink

She said it will 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 she disagreed with the lawmaker’s decision because the sale of takeout drinks increases state revenue through sales and excise taxes.

“It’s important that this gets factored into the budget process because honestly we really needed to have that back in place weeks ago,” she said.

Woman holding beer
Selling takeaway drinks has been a lifeline for bars and restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stephen Yang

“We needed to have this last summer and any delay in implementation is a problem for the industry. The industry flattened out in December and January. There would have been a boost when we needed it in this flat period.”

She noted that one of the biggest obstacles comes from lobbying efforts by powerful liquor store trade groups, who argue that take-out alcohol has hurt liquor store revenues during the pandemic.

“We’re trying to look at things that consumers have really embraced, like ‘alcohol on the go’ and al fresco dining. Demand for both is there, and if we can continue to do both, it will pick up speed sooner – but even then, it will take years for personnel and supply chains to fully recover.”

Mayor Eric Adams
Albany lawmakers also reversed a four-year extension of mayoral control of city schools requested by Mayor Eric Adams.
Matthew McDermott

“There are countless issues that need to be resolved with the state alcohol agency. We shouldn’t just deal with this one proposal,” Savino said, acknowledging opposition from the liquor store lobby.

Both chambers now removed Hochul’s proposed four-year extension of mayoral control over city schools, supported and strongly sought by New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

It is to be phased out by the end of the legislative period in June.

“It has always been the Assembly’s position to push mayoral control. I wouldn’t get nervous that it’s not in the resolution. It doesn’t expire until the end of June,” Heastie said, fueling a desire to eliminate political items from the budget.

The legislature has typically withheld mayoral control as a source of political influence over city mayors, prompting the Big Apple’s chief executive to travel to Albany and asking the legislature to legislate.

But the move also comes at a time when Heastie is strongly opposed to Adams’ proposal to change New York’s controversial criminal justice reforms like bail and the raise the age law.

More lawmakers warm to the term to make changes to the law following a series of cases in which people have been released without bail after committing crimes, only to re-offend shortly thereafter.

Both Assembly and Senate proposals deviated from Hochul’s proposal, including a $1.25 billion increase in funding for New York’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

The program has made money available to landlords and renters who are struggling to make rent payments due to an emergency related to COVID-19. Aid dates back to the start of the pandemic, but funds Dried up late last year despite an outstanding number of qualified applicants.

Both chambers also accounted for new spending on general childcare, as well as additional funding from the state and city university systems. Albany Dems waive takeout booze plan, mayor’s control of budget


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