Offered by Councilor Ayanna Pressley
CITY OF BOSTON
ORDER FOR A HEARING TO EXPLORE LIQUOR LICENSE LAW CHANGES TO SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND FOSTER EQUITY ACROSS NEIGHBORHOODS

WHEREAS,     A 1933 law apportioned a limited number of liquor licenses to Massachusetts cities and towns requiring them to seek legislative approval to exceed those limits; and

WHEREAS,     State control over liquor licenses was a result of Prohibition frenzy about alcohol and a power struggle between Yankee legislators and Irish-dominated local governments; and

WHEREAS,     Those conditions no longer apply, yet these restrictions are still in effect in Boston; and

WHEREAS,     The lack of flexibility for Boston to locally control the liquor license distribution process makes acquiring a liquor license lengthy, burdensome and costly for businesses; and

WHEREAS,     The cap on the number of available liquor licenses in Boston drives up the price of licenses and the cost of doing business; and

WHEREAS,     The unnecessarily high cost of doing business makes it difficult for entrepreneurs –  particularly small/local-, minority-, and women-owned business enterprises – to bring innovation to the cultural, arts, and culinary arenas; and

WHEREAS,     It unduly burdens entrepreneurs who wish to open small neighborhood establishments, who in some estimates rely on alcohol sales for up to a quarter of their revenue; and

WHEREAS,     In certain communities in Boston, particularly in communities of color, the high cost of liquor licenses also makes it more difficult to develop the range of neighborhood entertainment and dining offerings necessary to attract and retain young professionals and families; and

WHEREAS,     These outdated restrictions impede the ability of cities and towns to spur economic development and limits their ability to foster equity across neighborhoods.

THEREFORE BE IT

ORDERED,     That the appropriate committee of the Boston City Council hold a hearing to examine the process of acquiring a liquor license in Boston and explore changes to the laws governing that process; and that representatives from the Boston Licensing Board and other interested parties be invited to testify.

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About Future Boston Alliance

Future Boston Alliance is a non-profit organization seeking to revolutionize our city's creative economy. By advocating for new talent and businesses and holding educational events, we aim to make Boston a hub for collaboration, innovation, and culture.

3 responses »

  1. Chandler says:

    Here, I’ll preempt it: the state controls liquor licenses for boston….not boston.

  2. Tell me when the meeting is and I’ll be there! Are the appropriate state legislators who could introduce legislation necessary to fix this on Beacon Hill going to be there, too?

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