Good Night Mr. Lewis: Free the Booze

imageWith the sky falling and everyone I see in an advanced state of worry, it’s time for the state to wrest control of liquor sales from community boards and hand it over to the State Liquor Authority. The SLA used to be seen as a regulatory body with an eye on the bottom line. Issuing licenses to responsible people generated tax revenue and jobs, which in turn created more tax revenue and kept people off unemployment and welfare. Delis, cab drivers, people who sell cups and napkins, garbage men, and many more eat at this table. More people attended nightclubs last year than Yankees games, Mets games, Knicks and Ranger games, The Met, and Broadway shows combined — 65 million people, to be exact. Right now a virtual moratorium on new liquor licenses and constant attacks on the club industry are severely hurting the New York economy.

Harbour Drive, with over a million dollars already invested, is being offered a 1 a.m. license by its community board. They won’t make money with a 1 a.m. license. They won’t be able to afford staff. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue are threatened by this stupid ruling. Many investors look at this situation and decline to invest in new construction. Lumberyards, painters, contractors, architects, and designers are affected by the pig-headed views of unelected old farts who rule the community boards.

With thousands put out of work, a vibrant club industry could provide jobs for so many in need. It’s time for the city and the state to recognize the value in tax revenue and jobs and end this situation. Clubs can help pay for schools and cops’ salaries and keep food on the table for many who don’t know where it will come from in the days ahead. This is not the time to cling to the bedroom-community visions of board members. This city and state need tax revenue and jobs now, or this will be the coldest of all winters.

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