FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Wendi Leggitt (212) 681-1380 or (301) 247-0528

COALITION TO PATERSON: ANSWER FOIA REQUEST ON PHONY NUMBERS Are Wine in Grocery Store Revenue Projections a Cynical Ploy to Fool Legislature? NEW YORK, NY March 16, 2010 ± Leaders of the Last Store on Main Street Coalition today renewed their call on Governor Paterson to release all economic and fiscal studies to justify the fantasy revenues he projects from his job-killing plan to legalize wine sales in 19,000 new outlets. The Coalition submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the information on February 10, but has yet to even receive a response to its request from the Governor or his administration. Since the request, evidence has piled up that the Governor¶s $300 million projection is completely farfetched, and may be part of a cynical ploy to dupe the State Legislature into approving his dangerous plan only to lower the revenue numbers later. In fact, with the increase in costs associated with a jump in underage drinking, the loss of jobs and income taxes, and increased unemployment costs, the state will lose money on this bad plan. According to Supermarket News, Paterson did not consult with the leading organization representing grocery stores when coming up with the new revenue projections. In addition, the industry publication said the projections are likely to fall short, but that the high projections may help get it through the legislature. ³After years of lobbying for the right to sell wine, this could work in supermarkets¶ favor. In a perfect world, the measure would pass, retailers would take a wait-and-see approach to selling wine, and the state would lower the fees,´ according to the March 8 edition of Supermarket News. Jeff Saunders, president of the Retailers Alliance and founder of the Last Store coalition, said, ³Governor Paterson has his share of challenges when it comes to the truth, but intentionally misleading the Legislature with phony budget numbers is outrageous and wrong. It¶s time for him back up his projections with real data, or make clear he doesn¶t have any. If he continues to ignore our legal request for information, we are prepared to sue for the information.´ New York State Liquor Store Association President Stefan Kalogridis said, ³Paterson likes to say he is the only one looking out for the state¶s fiscal health, but it¶s becoming increasingly clear that he just made up numbers in a sorry attempt to mislead the Legislature. Fortunately, we know the Legislature is smart enough not to trust anything the Governor says these days with real proof.´ -more-

Metropolitan Package Store Association President Michael Correra said, ³Talk is cheap, which is why we want proof. The cost of this bad idea on small businesses and the jobs they provide is anything but cheap. It is dramatic, even tragic. We are confident the Legislature will call Paterson¶s bluff.´ The February 10 FOIA request seeks all documents to justify the dramatic increase in revenues from this bad idea included in the 21-day amendments, documentation to back up claims that allowing wine stores to sell potato chips will offset massive revenue losses as a result of this proposal, all documentation assessing the losses in revenue stemming from store closings and job losses, and all documentation assessing the impact on underage drinking costs that now exceed $3.2 billion annually for New York State. ###

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