Legislature might lift cap on liquor licenses?
The number of licenses a city or county may have is tied to population.
Dave Owen, president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said some consider the issuance of liquor licenses a quality-of-life issue.
“More and more cities are finding the kind of restaurant chains they want to attract won’t come in unless they can offer a full-beverage menu,” Owen said.
Caren Assman, executive director of the South Dakota Retail Liquor Dealers Association, said her organization opposes any expansion of the availability of liquor licenses because licenses already in hand are valuable.
“My businesses have invested in that liquor license. To just open up the cap would be like pulling the rug out from underneath their investment,” Assman said.
I'm tossed on this one. I certainly wouldn't want to harm small businesses. But the liquor license monopolies granted in this state have always mystified me. Businesses have the ability in South Dakota to transfer this license (with city approval) to wholly unrelated entities for cash, making it a marketable commodity going to the highest bidder, as opposed to the best qualified. Plus, it's a very limited commodity, giving it great value.
What say you SDWC readers? Yay to opening it up, or nay?