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January 13 Feedback and Beyond | Letters | Salt Lake City

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Bar owners in crisis
We are Utah business owners in crisis. We are Utahns, we are voters and we need your help. Over the past few years, we have invested our time, money and entrepreneurial spirit in the dream of opening our own businesses, businesses that provide jobs and services to our local community.

And yet, we risk failing before we can even open our doors due to outdated and unfair state laws that prevent us from obtaining the basic licenses we need to open. As you well know, Utah arbitrarily limits the number of bar licenses available for distribution.

As the state experiences unprecedented growth, there are now more budding bar operators than available bar licenses. At the current rate of licensing, most of us won’t be able to open for at least a year, even though the vast majority of our operations are set to open within the next six months, or sooner. Instead of focusing our attention on the tireless work of opening a new business, we are stuck in limbo, unable to open our doors and unsure if or when we will be able to do so.

It’s time for you to take a deep look at the benefits the state of Utah and its people derive from the artificial restriction of liquor licensing. The Guardians will list “social interest” as the main justification for restricting bar licenses, but there is no evidence that the existing law discourages overall alcohol consumption.

More importantly, the current law is inconsistent with our state’s self-proclaimed, pro-business, pro-small government principles. Consider negative economic effects downstream. Not only will fewer hospitality businesses find financial support – reducing available jobs, consumer spending, and household incomes – but any business or institute considering an investment in Utah will think twice before coming here, as long as the state proactively interferes in free. – development of the culture and entertainment market.

Even with these important considerations in mind, none of this speaks to the human and emotional toll. We encourage all elected officials to attend a [Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control] meet and witness firsthand as Utah contractors are forced to make their case and the commission finds itself in the unenviable position of choosing who will succeed and who will fail. The meetings are trying and frustrating for everyone involved, including the DABC Commission, which has strongly and publicly called on the Legislative Assembly to address the issue by increasing the number of bar licenses available for distribution.

We implore you to view our position with compassion, to put yourselves in our shoes as business owners who have risked everything to pursue our dream, only to have obscure laws put our careers and families at risk down the line. ‘arrival.

As current and potential business owners in Utah, we call on the Legislature to heed the call of the people of our state and the DABC itself and immediately introduce and pass legislation that increases the bar licenses available and paves the way for local businesses to open now and in the future.

JESSE WILKERSON, JEFF POLYCHRONIS, PETER COLE, GREG SCHIRF, KATY WILLIS, MICHAEL ECCLESTON, TIM RYAN, GEORGE CARDON-BYSTRY, CHARLIE CARDON, JEFF CARDON, JEFF BERNARD, SCOTT EVANS, JASON LECATES, ALEXANDRA ORTIZ, JAMEEL GASKINS, JAMES SOARES, KATIE MCKEON, BRITT JURSIK, NICK MARUCCI, LESLIE CORBETT, BUZZ WILLEY, MAXWELL CHRISTEN, GARRETT CLEMENTS, MIKE ASKERLUND

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion