Madison Mayor Paul Soglin vetoed State Street Taco Bell Cantina’s liquor license today, which is set for its grand opening this Friday.
Soglin said in a press release that he sees “little public value” in issuing the license, which is not worth the costs to Madison residents and the government.
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The liquor license was approved last Tuesday at a city council meeting after being a topic of contention since Taco Bell’s opening was announced in October.
“Perhaps if the license was associated with a new hotel with its beneficial impact on sales at Monona Terrace or if it was associated with adding to Madison’s desire for fresh and healthy food, it would be another matter,” Soglin wrote in a press release.
Soglin added the city of Madison has spent over $20 million on enhancing the profitable and commercialized streets such as State Street and the Capitol Square. Soglin believes the liquor license is unnecessary if the intention is to attract more shoppers and customers, as there are already many bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Soglin believes it is also a public health and safety concern because it would require more patrols and more money to survey these areas during bar time. Adding another liquor outlet would “make no sense,” Soglin said.
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This comes with growing concerns of violence in downtown relating to liquor. Soglin added there are enough liquor outlets, and said more and more of the money spent on entertainment is going to commercial chains rather than local businesses.
Soglin called on people to consider the possible consequences and costs of the liquor license, which he believes is unnecessary.
“If we are concerned about public safety, if we are concerned about mounting law enforcement costs, issuing a licesne that brings no public value, but great public liability does not make sense,” Soglin said.