Governor proposes to lift liquor license cap


Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed to eliminate the cap on liquor licenses in communities around the state, and local leaders couldn’t be drunker with delight, the State House News Service reported.

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said his border city faces competition from New Hampshire retailers, and lifting the limits on licenses for liquor stores will be a “great help.”

The mayors, selectmen, school committee members and other local officials met with members of the Patrick administration on Tuesday to discuss recent developments with the budget, a supplemental spending bill and veterans’ issues.

Eric Nakajima, assistant secretary for innovation policy at Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, also gave a rundown of the governor’s recently filed economic development bill that includes proposals for tax incentives for workforce training and housing, innovation initiatives and the proposal to turn over full control of the liquor licensing process to local authorities.

Mr. Nakajima said lifting the cap on liquor licenses will eliminate a “hurdle” for businesses seeking access to liquor licenses that are often part of larger economic development projects.

Approving additional liquor licenses for cities and towns has become a routine function of the House and Senate, usually occurring during lightly attended informal sessions but only after the bills have passed through committee and been vetted by lawyers.

In recent years, Aquinnah, Tisbury, and West Tisbury moved from dry to partially wet status. Chilmark remains the only Island town where the sale of alcohol is prohibited.