Hoisted from the comments:
On licenses, you still need a way to deal with people who own licenses; to just eliminate them/erase that value is an unreasonable. My proposal is that the license owner receive a waiver of the annual fee for a period of time equal to their license value, and that the waiver account be a transferable asset so it can be sold just as the license could have.
That sounds fair to me, but are we compensating license-holders for the amount they originally purchased the license for, or for its current market value?
I’m not out to penalize incumbent bars and restaurants who had to go through the existing painful process and pay way too much money for a liquor license. But I also want to see some more competition as well as an increase in the rate of new restaurant openings.
I just think that since the restaurant business is so risky and has such a high failure rate, it’s messed up to charge people who want to open new restaurants an extortionate price to sell a high-markup menu item that would make it less risky for them to go into business. It seems clear to me that you would see more restaurants and bars open if not for the high price of liquor licenses.