For the past few weeks, we've been pushing back on the governor's plan to devalue liquor licenses across the state. After a disastrous past few years for small family businesses suffering under outrageous, unnecessary, and deadly lockdowns and mandates, small businesses are bracing for the latest hit.
The governor is pushing to eliminate the current liquor license system, which will open up licenses with no limitations plus banning the private sale of the licenses. For the 7,000 plus pubs, taverns, bars, and family-owned restaurants that have a current license estimated to be valued between $300,000 and a million dollars, this would be a crushing blow to the value of their business.
Many small shops went into debt to afford the licenses and many more are counting on the sale to enable them to eventually stop working and retire.
Running a small family eatery and watering holes is a grueling job. Early mornings, late nights, and typically seven days a week.
One business leader is John Ellery who owns Ellery's Grill in Middlesex, New Jersey. He joined me to discuss what hardship tavern, pub, and restaurant owners are potentially facing with the governor's plan.
I will be appearing at his restaurant, a favorite of Kelsey Grammer, who launched his own brewing company in 2015, Wednesday night to host a town hall in support of these local businesses.
John spoke about the devastating financial blow on family-owned liquor licenses which serves as a lifeline to local communities. As he pointed out, many owners have spent more than a million dollars in order to pay for the licenses. Given that the average license in NJ is worth about $400,000 and the average home $440,000, imagine if Murphy devalued your home the same way?
John and dozens of business owners and patrons will join me at 6 p.m. at Ellery's on Lincoln Blvd in Middlesex on Wednesday, April 26.
With businesses like John's struggling with a lack of staffing, the rising cost of food, and the overall tax and regulatory burden in New Jersey, this assault from the governor could be the end for many small family places.
Help me fight back. If the governor's goal is to open up additional bars and restaurants in communities that need additional licenses, there are an estimated 1400 so-called "pocket licenses" not currently in use that could be sold and activated. The idea that life in New Jersey means a battle with the government at every turn is precisely why many people are leaving.
For me, I'm diggin' in and will stay and fight to create opportunity for New Jersey to restore an accountable, transparent, and helpful government. It starts by standing up for Ellery's Grill. Join me Wednesday.