Boston's broken liquor license process

Eric

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Apr 16, 2023
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Interesting article discussing how Boston caps the number of liquor licenses at about 1,100 for the entire city. The result is that to acquire a new license, bar owners need to buy one from an existing bar owner/license holder, and the going rate is currently $500,000. The article suggests some reasonable reforms (e.g., let each community decide for itself what its cap on licenses should be) but mentions how change is unlikely because it would require action by the State House. This goes to show that bad permitting programs can persist if there isn't political will to make a change or if there are participants in the current system (in this case, current license holders) who are benefitting from maintaining the status quo.
 
Location
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Interesting article discussing how Boston caps the number of liquor licenses at about 1,100 for the entire city. The result is that to acquire a new license, bar owners need to buy one from an existing bar owner/license holder, and the going rate is currently $500,000. The article suggests some reasonable reforms (e.g., let each community decide for itself what its cap on licenses should be) but mentions how change is unlikely because it would require action by the State House.


This goes to show that bad permitting programs can persist if there isn't political will to make a change or if there are participants in the current system (in this case, current license holders) who are benefitting from maintaining the status quo.
Curious whether any political actors/or interested parties linked to the political actors may possibly-indirectly profit in some way from this scheme.

Frankly i think the "western" "normalization" of alcohol consumption ought to be regarded for what it actually is, a societal substance dependency dysfunction which has been a major factor in decades of suffering & deaths.
It's not simply a highly detrimental substance, it has been proliferated specifically as an easily accessible drug to expedite numbing cognitive faculties, inhibiting the minds of modern slave classes after a weeks slavery in exchange for ridiculous debt tokens—so the masses neither have the time and are largely incapable of contemplating the tragic actuality of corporate enslavement imposed upon us all worldwide.
 
What are the reasons for not giving additional liquor licenses? The local government can not only collect a lot of money as permit fees but even collect taxes. Maye the 1100 liquor license holders are lobbying for not giving away more permits so that they can benefit from the current permit laws.
 
What are the reasons for not giving additional liquor licenses? The local government can not only collect a lot of money as permit fees but even collect taxes. Maye the 1100 liquor license holders are lobbying for not giving away more permits so that they can benefit from the current permit laws.

According to this article, "The state took control of Boston's liquor licensing in the 1930s after Prohibition on the belief that the mostly Irish city leaders wouldn't be judicial in establishing new bars." So I guess the whole thing stems from a mistrust of the Irish (lol)?

Today, I'm sure some of it has to do with existing license holders benefitting from the status quo and being resistant to any change that would threaten their market share, like you pointed out.
 
Wow this is absurd! I can't believe Boston makes it almost impossible for bar owners to get a liquor license. In this day and age where the cost of living keeps going up and these bar owners need to make a living, the city is making things more difficult.
 
Seriously, this is so wrong in many places and I can't fathom why the whole system in Boston is hell bent on making life and business very difficult for those in the business of bar ownership. Bars are meant to sell alcoholic beverages and they need licenses to do that. Denying them the liquor license is like shutting down their businesses.
 
The situation in Boston regarding liquor licenses highlights the challenges of changing long-standing permitting programs. While there are reasonable reform suggestions, political obstacles and the interests of current license holders can hinder progress. It underscores the need for political will and a commitment to fairness when addressing such issues.
 
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