A long-awaited bill that would phase out New Jersey’s Prohibition-era liquor license limits over the next six years includes far laxer rules for breweries and wineries, provisions that would allow towns to reclaim inactive licenses, and relatively paltry tax credits for existing license holders.
Lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy have sought to increase the availability of liquor licenses given to bars and restaurants — they’re currently limited to one for every 3,000 residents in a given town — while loosening rules that have chafed brewers and distillers. Murphy in January pitched the proposed changes as a potential boost for small businesses, calling the state’s existing liquor license system “antiquated and confusing.”
But that push has faced opposition from existing license holders who have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars — or more than $1 million, in some cases — for their licenses, which will decrease in value once towns can issue more of them. The tax credits present in the bill introduced this week, intended to defray some of the loss in license value, are unlikely to leave them satisfied. Read more from New Jersey Monitor.