In a surprising move, Amazon did a volte face a while back: instead of fighting collecting sales taxes, which was creating an image problem, the online retailer decided to collect taxes and move its previously isolated warehousing closer to metropolitan areas. So, in 2014, Amazon will open a mammoth fulfillment center (one million sq.ft.) in New Jersey as a staging ground for fulfilling orders both to the Garden State and NYC.
Will anyone in NYC who orders books, breakfast cereal, or basketballs from Amazon care that they first touched down in New Jersey? No, it makes no difference. Would New York authorities prohibit those products from being delivered to NY residents? No, they would have no cause to discriminate against those products that started the last leg of their journey to consumers in NJ; Amazon surveyed the competitive landscape and chose to build its warehouse in Jersey.
The New York Post had a story yesterday about a scary bill that has reappeared in Albany that has parallels for wine enthusiasts to the amazon warehouse. The story reports that Empire Merchants LLC, a large wine and spirits distributor, is trying to grease the wheels to pass a state law mandating that all wine delivered to NYC must stay “at rest” in an NY warehouse for 24 hours prior to delivery.
Clearly, this is absurd, and it serves no-one’s purpose other than a large distributor such as Empire. As with Amazon, most of the small and mid-sized wine distributors have chosen to warehouse in New Jersey. To force that warehousing to NY would create jobs–always appealing to politicians–but it would doubtless raise the cost of business to the small and mid-sized distributors, likely raising prices for consumers or forcing distributors to trim their portfolios. The worst case scenario is that they would go out of business. Ironically, the 2005 Granholm decision on direct wine shipping could be invoked since this law discriminates against out-of-state products, violating interstate commerce.
New York City is currently the greatest wine city on the planet. And it’s not the big distributors who make it that way. So go make some noise, write your state senator (here’s text from last year) and tell them you are opposed to S3849-2013, known as “at rest.” The bill’s sponsor is Senator Jeff Klein who, the Post points out, received $33,000 in contributions from Empire over the past four years.
Related: “Wine company ‘buys’ NY bill – that could cost you $7 a bottle!” NY Post
“Put “at rest” to rest in NY” DrVino.com