When nickel-and-diming isn't enough
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.
| July 8, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories: D.C., Fenty, Georgetown, HotTopic, Local blog network
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