NJ governor wants to increase number of liquor licenses

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wants to expand the number of liquor licenses in the state and eventually get rid of limits.

They are currently capped by a locality's population.  There can be one liquor license per 3,000 residents in the town or city.

The licenses can be sold privately, and have been known to cost more than $1,000,000.

At his state of the state address, Murphy called the rules "antiquated and confusing" and a hindrance for businesses that don't have them.

"The old rules have purposely created market scarcity and driven up costs to the point where a liquor license can draw seven figures," Murphy said.  "For many small, independent restaurateurs...that’s just too high a price to pay."

Get breaking news alerts in the free FOX5NY News app!  |  Sign up for FOX 5 email newsletters

Murphy wants to relax and eventually end current restrictions.  He suggests providing a tax credit to businesses that have already invested in a license of their own since they would become worthless.

The governor claims that ending the license limit could generate up to $10 billion in new economic activity over 10 years.  He also claims that it could create upwards of 10,000 jobs annually.

Murphy also wants to change what he calls "outdated licensing and operating restrictions" on breweries and distilleries.  Among the things they can't do right now is to serve food.  That rule was put in place to protect restaurants that have liquor licenses to avoid competition.