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THE LIQUOR TAX LAW
STATE OF NEW YORK-Station
Reported in New York Reports, Vols. 149 to 157, inclusive; Appellate
decisions, chronologically arranged.
WILLIAM E, SCHENCK,
Prepared under the direction of
APK :26 941
Nilicain C Sangir
Sanson field, NY
DEPOSITED BY HARVARD COLLEGE UBRARY
The Legislature of 1896, by enacting the Liquor Tax Law, abandoned the system of granting licenses at the will of local boards of excise established in cities and towns of the State. Under that system, those engaged in the traffic were annually at the mercy of the officials in whom the licensing power was vested, and were continually under the influence of such officials, because they had the power of revoking licenses. Under the new system, uniform and fixed rates of taxation were established, on payment of which, any person not expressly prohibited might obtain a liquor tax certificate permitting the traffic in liquors at any designated place wherein traffic was not expressly prohibited by statute, and while the right to engage in the traffic in liquors was still a privilege, it was a privilege to which all persons desiring the same had equal rights under the statute. Furthermore, citizens complaining against those engaged in the traffic were no longer compelled to appeal for relief from officials, whose action in the discharge of their duties, had been characterized by corruption, favoritism, partisanship or fraud, but on proof of any infraction of the law could obtain relief as a matter of legal right in the courts.
A comparison of the reported cases arising under the excise laws in force immediately prior to the enactment of the Liquor Tax Law with the reported cases involving the provisions of the latter statute, shows a large increase which reflects this difference between the new and the old system.
It is therefore of importance, not only that the Liquor Tax Law and its amendments, defining the rights of those engaged in the traffic and of others affected by it, should be published and distributed, but that the opinions of the courts construing the statute, should also be collated and published.
In view of the fact that the administrative, executive and judi. cial officers whose function it is to carry out one or another of the various provisions of the Liquor Tax Law, hold office for limited periods, and those who have become efficient through experience are succeeded by those inexperienced in excise matters, it should not be necessary for the latter to search the session laws for amendments to the general act which regulates the traffic in liquors, or to rely upon the digests annually published, imperfectly citing the reported decisions of the courts in relation to the Liquor Tax Law. Information about this statute, which annually returns a revenue of upwards of $18,000,000, and which regulates a business
directly or indirectly affecting the personal interests of citizens everywhere, and in many ways affecting the social welfare of every community, should be accessible, and the extent to which it is accessible, will largely determine the influence which those in authority exert to execute the law.
The State Commissioner of Excise, as a necessary party to all civil litigation in any manner affecting the enjoyment of the privileges or the operation of the restrictions provided for in the Liquor Tax Law, has endeavored to aid in securing a uniformity of construction, by furnishing the courts with complete information as to previous decisions. It will be in furtherance of that policy to publish these reports, containing all opinions heretofore handed down, and hereafter, to publish from time to time supplemental volumes, containing new decisions.
PATRICK W. CULLINAN,
State Commissioner of Excise. Dated, Albany, September 5, 1905.
THE LIQUOR TAX LAW.
Being Chapter 112, of the Laws of 1896.
AN ACT in relation to the traffic in liquors, and for the taxation
and regulation of the same, and to provide for local option, constituting chapter twenty-nine of the General Laws.
Became a law March 23, 1896, with the approval of the Governor. Passed,
three-fifths being present.
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
CHAPTER XXIX OF THE GENERAL LAWS.
THE LIQUOR TAX LAW.
Section 1. Short title.
tributed. 14. Compensation of county treasurers. 15. Books and blanks to be furnished by state commis
sioner of excise. 16. Local option to determine whether liquor shall be sold
under the provisions of this act. 17. Statements to be made upon application for liquor