Las Cruces may tackle liquor licensing as obstacle to business, but only for a few

Las Cruces officials have been “revitalizing” their downtown at taxpayer expense for decades. It hasn’t worked very well. So, I read with great interest this news story which details a plan being put forth by some in the community to enable some downtown businesses to obtain lower-cost liquor licenses.

We detailed the problem of over-priced liquor licenses in New Mexico and how they stifle business and job creation in our guide to regulatory reforms from early 2013. Of course, we’d prefer legislators to work on broad-based reform of New Mexico’s outdated and broken liquor licensing system, but the efforts to create a semi-deregulated “pilot program” is commendable, even if it dove-tails with a Main Street Program that we have serious problems with as a big-spending boondoggle (see here and here for examples).

It would be great to see something along the lines of Jack Kemp’s “enterprise zones” where the heavy hand of government is dramatically-reduced. This proposal is at least a first step away from reliance on tax dollars for economic growth and redevelopment and a realization that too often, government is the problem, not the solution.

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