New bill would lift cap on liquor licenses

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BOSTON (WWLP) – Many Massachusetts cities and towns don’t have enough liquor licenses for new businesses that need them. 22News details a bill that could result in more bars and restaurants in your neighborhood.

Massachusetts has had a limit on liquor licenses since Prohibition in the 1920’s, but Governor Patrick wants to raise the cap, and have licenses decided on a local level.

Massachusetts cities and towns have a limited number of liquor licenses, usually based on population. In places like West Springfield, where they’re in high demand, owners sometimes sell them for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Governor Patrick’s recently filed economic development bill would lift the cap on liquor licenses, giving cities and towns full-control to grant them.

Assistant Secretary for Innovation Policy Eric Nakajima told 22News, “Cities are cool, downtowns are hip and cool. People want to be able to walk around exciting local neighborhoods, and shop, and go to restaurants. This is going to allow communities to create a predictable environment to encourage responsible local developments of businesses.”

Supporters believe it will boost businesses and jobs, but it could also upset restaurant owners who paid top-dollar to serve alcoholic beverages.

Lifting the license cap would give cities more control, phasing them in over time, or even restrict and isolate them to redevelopment areas.

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