I definitely do not agree with Dave Pulis’ March 10 letter regarding the Liquor License Reform Plan. First of all, this is not about big business trying to influence law, this is more likely about small business owners and operators trying to compete or start a business in an extremely competitive market and disadvantageous system. If the current price of a liquor license negotiated by its owner is $300,000, that may be its market value in our current system, but anywhere else that would be called extortion. Big businesses may be able to afford that, although they know they’re being ripped off, but they know it’s a necessary cost of doing business. But small business owners cannot afford that, so they can’t compete with big business.
It is an unlevel playing field created by an archaic system, that separates the haves from the have nots. Any restaurant or pub that wants to sell liquor to enhance their business should be able to purchase a license from the state, subject to background checks, and compete for the public’s business in the free marketplace. The truth is many people make their dining and entertainment decisions based on what adult beverage options are available, so don’t tell me that license isn’t a huge advantage.
Furthermore, you do not have a scintilla of evidence that expanding opportunities will create more DUIs and traffic deaths. Those new license owners are subject to the same alcohol service guidelines that they currently have. There’s no difference anywhere.
Now, should those current license owners who have paid dearly for their license be given some kind of restitution or other relief over time for their exorbitant fees? Absolutely. That would be only fair.
Live in Spokane
Work in Coeur d’Alene