Governor Phil Murphy hosted a roundtable discussion at the Pru Thai restaurant in Clinton to discuss his vision for liquor license reform with local small business owners and elected officials on Thursday, February 23.
Governor Murphy would like to increase the number of licenses available for towns which under the current law allows towns to issue one consumption license for every 3,000 residents and one retail license per 7,500 residents. Murphy said, "This is eighty to ninety years overdue".
Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach would like to see the change for small town like Clinton that only has 2700 residents. Mayor Kovach said, "This would significantly be a game changer for us". Clinton has one liquor store, one liquor license and one hotel with a liquor license.
Korn Wongsarochana, owner of Pru Thai restaurant, said after the pandemic his business lost half of the amount of sales and having a beer and wine license would help bring diners back.
Another point of talk was the cost of a liquor license which could range near $600,000 for a NJ restaurant owner where in NY it's $4,000 every two years.
Murphy said he hopes legislators craft a bill this year and pass it in 2024.