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New York to impose floor tax on wine and beer

The state of New York is to impose a ‘floor tax’ on all beer and wine wholesalers and retailers.

The tax – due to come into effect on May 1 – will levy a charge on all wine and beer held in stock, and, according to the New York State Liquor Stores Board, charge ‘at the rate of thirty-two and seven hundredths cents per gallon based on inventory.’

It will affect all wine stores in the New York area, but will be particularly punitive for companies such as Zachys, who have some of the,largest stocks of old wines in the region. At the same time there will be a rise in excise tax to 30c per gallon.

Stu Levine, of Vino 100 in White Plains, New York, told decanter.com, ‘This is an example of how Governor [David] Paterson is trying to make up a hole in the city budget by taxing the easy targets.

‘Stores are offering large sales trying to clear stock before May 1 arrives, and are unwilling to buy anything else right now. We are effectively being taxed twice, as we already paid taxes on this wine when it was originally brought in.’

According to USA Today, New York is currently facing a $14bn budget gap.

A separate battle has recently been won by wine store owners, as last week the New York State Legislature refused supermarkets such as Costco the right to sell wine, along with 19,000 new outlets, including gas stations, delis, mini-marts, bodegas, and grocery stores.

If the legislation had passed, opponents suggested that 1,000 liquor stores would have closed, costing 4-5,000 jobs.

The New York Senate has passed the floor tax bill, and it will now be delivered to Governor Paterson for his consideration. He is expected that he will ratify it quickly.

Written by Jane Anson

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