New Poll Shows Widespread Support Among New Jerseyans for Governor Murphy’s Liquor Law Reforms

New Jerseyans across the board support a number of liquor license reforms being proposed by Governor Phil Murphy that deal with the quantity of licenses allowed and how licenses can be used, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released this morning.

Almost all residents are in favor of allowing breweries greater ability to serve food on their premises – with 92% supporting versus 6% in opposition.

71% are supportive of giving small towns additional “retail consumption licenses,” allowing more restaurants to serve alcohol; while 26% are opposed.

Current state law restricts municipalities to awarding one liquor license per every 3,000 residents, causing the cost of these licenses to skyrocket, with some businesses paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for just one license.

Solid majorities are also in favor of lifting the current restriction on the number of events a brewery can hold in a year (63% support to 26% oppose) and allowing towns that have active liquor licenses not tied to a specific establishment to transfer those licenses to another town in the same county (57% support to 34% oppose).

New Jerseyans are divided only when it comes to providing a $30-50,000 tax credit to current license holders as a way to make up for the possible decrease in value of their existing license due to the addition of new licenses: 45% support this, while 42% oppose it, and 13% are unsure.

“One thing New Jerseyans seem to agree upon these days is revamping the state’s liquor license laws – an issue that even cuts across party lines,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick.

“Residents’ sole hesitancy, unsurprisingly, is with tax credits for current license holders, which is in line with the broader narrative of New Jerseyans not wanting anything to ultimately impact their own wallet.”

The proposals still have to be approved by the Legislature, where they have faced some opposition.

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