The restaurant business is notoriously difficult, and always has been. The National Restaurant Association once estimated that 30% of new restaurants closed within a year, and that was before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated an industry that has long been a major employer.
In 2020, using his pandemic emergency powers, then governor. Andrew Cuomo offered the industry a kind of lifeline: alcoholic beverages to go. The provision quickly provided restaurants with a revenue stream that helped some stay afloat, at least until it expired with those powers in June.
Now, however, Governor Kathy Hochul wants to revive take-out liquor sales and make it a permanent fixture of New York’s restaurant landscape. It is a beautiful idea, which the Legislative Assembly should adopt and implement.
That’s partly because the restaurant industry continues to struggle as the pandemic lingers. Earlier this month, for example, state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli noted that restaurants in New York were employing 30% fewer workers than in 2019, before the pandemic.
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The economic implications of this are hard to overestimate, especially for immigrant communities that have traditionally used the restaurant industry to jump-start the economic ladder. If on-the-go alcohol can help this industry and its many employees a bit, it’s worth considering.
It’s a remarkable cultural shift that would represent the biggest relaxation of liquor laws since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. There’s no reason why New York, which has already relaxed sales regulations alcohol in movie theaters, doesn’t join a trend that allows restaurant patrons to order, say, margaritas with their tacos.
Under Ms. Hochul’s alcohol-to-go proposal, which was included in the state’s budget plan released last week, New York would allow bars and restaurants to offer “any product (that they) could otherwise retail” for on-premises consumption, subject to regulations set by the State Liquor Authority which may include quantity or volume limitations, dietary requirements, or take-out container rules.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2022-23 budget is a wonderful piece of election year economics.
It is accelerating a tax cut for the middle class. It spends money on transportation and infrastructure, two fairly popular items for government assistance. There is spending to help small businesses, theaters and musical arts groups recover from the pandemic. And there is a pay rise for healthcare workers.
That’s a lot of electoral boxes checked.
Of course, this level of spending is only possible for two reasons — $22 billion in pandemic aid from the federal government that helps balance the state budget through 2027 — and revenue. stronger-than-expected taxes, bolstered by last year’s tax hike on the wealthy. .
Give Hochul credit for a well-played hand. We hope, for New York’s sake, that the governor isn’t exaggerating.
We have seen this before. Governors promise great things to schools and taxpayers.
Then the state is abused in the form of terrorist attacks that decimate Wall Street, a recession that forces the state to take back all the freebies it promised, or a pandemic that occurs to force a massive contraction of the use.
Why invest so much in education – for both school districts and colleges – when fewer people are being educated in New York? New York has long spent the most per student of any state, and enrollment is down. Enrollment at SUNY schools has declined 20% over the past 10 years.
These two facts make us wonder why the state is pumping more money into a system that needs a restart, not support.
When Uncle Sam’s handouts and the highly taxed rich disappear, will New York be able to afford this level of spending? This budget is a wonderful example of election year savings. Time will tell if this is also good governance.
— Dunkirk Evening Observer
It looks like many Republicans’ wish will come true — the 23rd congressional district will likely remain largely intact and continue to include Chautauqua County.
Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, noted this in his remarks in favor of a redistricting plan presented by Republicans on the Independent Redistricting Commission. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, said the same thing last week on a conference call.
“I think Democratic control of Albany is going to produce a Gerrymander neighborhood for Democrats. That means I’m very confident that our Western New York area will be represented by a strong Republican member of Congress and become a guaranteed Republican seat,” he said.
Currently, the state has eight Republican and 19 Democrat representatives in Congress. New York loses one seat following the 2020 census due to population loss. Democrats are prepared to keep the 23rd congressional district intact — with the general agreement of many area residents and the Chautauqua County Legislature — at the likely expense of rural New York voices throughout New York. New York loses a seat – and it surely won’t be the one represented by a Democrat. And, in the game of politics where whoever has the most votes wins, keeping the 23rd district intact is a superficial wound that Democrats are willing to endure in order to increase the Democratic Party’s greater share of votes than New York. has in Washington.
So be careful what you want in terms of redistricting. The bird in your hand might not be worth two in the bush. Maybe it’s just a canary in a coal mine.