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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 07/ 8/2010

When nickel-and-diming isn't enough

By Topher Mathews

Mayor Adrian Fenty has been accused of raising "nickel and dime" fees as a means of increasing revenue without increasing taxes. In a move possibly related to this alleged effort, the mayor recently proposed that holders of inactive liquor licenses be charged a higher annual fee. In my opinion, this is a fee we ought to enact regardless of the city's finances.

In Georgetown, there are over a dozen liquor licenses that have been inactive for years. Because of a moratorium on the issuance of new liquor licenses in Georgetown, inactive licenses can be sold for upwards of $70,000. Without a proper fee for inactive licenses, licensees have little disincentive to sitting on an inactive license until they get their price.

By making it significantly more costly to leave a license inactive, the city could bring down the market price of liquor licenses in moratorium zones such as Georgetown and Dupont Circle. But as I explain here, the mayor's proposed fee is too small -- it's as low as $300 a year -- to have the desired effect.

Rather than being a serious attempt to clear the inactive licenses from the shelves, it really is more of a nickel-and-diming effort. And because of that, this proposal is a lost opportunity.

Topher Mathews blogs at The Georgetown Metropolitan. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Topher Mathews  | July 8, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., Fenty, Georgetown, HotTopic, Local blog network  
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Comments

No. There's no need to raise any more fees. Just step away from the taxicab commission and allow the cabbies to stimulate the entire economy and ultimately the tax base. You know, like sensible mayors do.

Posted by: starclimber9 | July 8, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

You enact laws to serve the public good.

Your argument although filled with intent and proposed a side fails to show how this effects the public good.

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