Elizabeth E George

CT Sunday Alcohol Sales Bill Passes: Praises, Positives, Negations & Negatives

In articles, Features, Health and Humanity, News, Uncategorized on May 18, 2012 at 8:14 pm

By Elizabeth E. George

HARTFORD, Conn. — At 10am on May 20th, 2012, Connecticut will officially

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enact its Sunday Alcohol Sales bill, by permitting liquor stores and grocery stores to sell alcohol until 5pm every Sunday; thus, eradicating a nearly 80-year-old Blue law.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed this trending bill into law last Monday, which leaves Indiana as the last state to ban the retail sale of alcohol on Sundays. Also per the new law, stores are allowed to sell liquor and beer on the additional days of Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, and on Mondays following some major holidays.

The bill was initially passed by the Senate, following a 28-6 vote, earlier in the month, under the notion that Connecticut will benefit greatly from the anticipated 5.2 million dollars in additional revenue for the state.

“Our current laws have cost millions of dollars as consumers have flocked over our borders in search of more convenient hours and lower prices,” Gov. Malloy said.

In an effort to make Connecticut “competitive once again,” the governor added that he would like to take the initiative to work on cutting costs. A 15-member task force will see if this endeavor pays off, through intense study and reports on the outcome.

It’s easy to say that it would be more a convenient travel for patrons, but what about for businesses?

Dominic Alaimo, of the Freshwater Package Store in Enfield, CT, is one proponent of the bill: “It’s millions of dollars that are leaving, plus the other shopping. They fill their gas tanks. They buy food. They buy cigarettes.”

Other package store owners disagree with the pro-consumerism of the bill; but, most of all, they are skeptical of all the initial pro mom-and-pop cheer.

“What we lose to the over the border isn’t generally the average, you know, family with 2.3 cars or 2.3 kids. It’s generally the 20 to 27-year-old who pretty much doesn’t need the other case of beer,” said John Nejaime, owner of New Milford Spirit Shoppe.

Tony Caraluzzi, of Taunton Wine & Liquor in Newtown, CT, does not agree that package stores have a chance against larger, buy-in-bulk grocery stores and supermarkets.

As far as whether or not the change will add up, Caraluzzi commented: “All the prices would go up and all the small stores will be priced out…We can’t compete.”

In terms of prices and costs, it is estimated that opening on Sundays could be counterproductive. Some lawmakers think the new law could result in longer work hours, flat sales, and a 15-percent increase in store operating costs, according to an article in The News-Times.

Under the list of positives, however, Connecticut will have the advantage of a 2-hour sales block over bordering state stores which do not open until noon on Sundays.

Some package store owners think that Saturday sales will blend into that of Sunday. Other store owners are wary still, because of some of the other clauses within the bill.

David Crawn, manager of Tate’s Place Package Store in Pawcatuck, CT, says that although it makes sense that buyers save by using less gas on their local liquor run, some portions of the bill may hurt liquor retailers. Under the new law, supermarkets can price one beer item at 10-percent the normal label each month, but that might only dampen package store sales because Connecticut supermarkets are limited to beer sales only.

Then there’s the issue of bordering states. And prices.

As of the beginning of May, a 30-case of Budweiser costs $26.92 — which includes the $1.50 deposit — at North Stonington Package Store, approximately $1.50 more than World of Wines in Westerly, Rhode Island.

The excise taxes per gallon of alcohol are, additionally, less in places like New York; even if the general price is slightly higher.

Despite all of the speculation, Caraluzzi said; if the public demands it, he will be open on Sundays.

SOURCES:

Cohen, Jeff. “Connecticut Considers Allowing Sunday Liquor Sales.” NPR. 3 Feb. 2012.

Dixon, Ken. “Senate OKs Sunday Sales Tax.” The Stamford Advocate. 2 May 2012.

Keegan, Chris. “Connecticut’s Sunday Liquor Law Viewed as Convenience.”  The Westerly Sun. 3 May 2012.

Miller, Robert. “A Package of Change.” The News-Times. 9 March 2012.

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