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Cheaper Booze Prices in Connecticut Are on the Table This Year

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed legislation to eliminate minimum package store pricing standards that make liquor sales more expensive in this state.

 

Last year the governor took on Sunday liquor store sales. This year he's setting his sights on lowering the price of alcohol at those stores.

Among the legislation Gov. Dannel P. Malloy submitted this week is a proposal to eliminate the state's alcohol pricing laws for Connecticut liquor stores, which set minimum prices that increase the retail costs of that bottle of wine or cognac by as much as $9 in some cases, the Journal Inquirer reports.

The state's law banning package store owners from setting prices below those established by their wholesalers is intended to protect smaller stores from the bulk-buying capabilities of large retailers. But the law also hurts consumers and the state because Connecticut residents either buy less alcohol or they go to the border states of New York, Rhode Island or Massachusetts, where booze prices are lower, the newspaper reports.

Getting rid of minimum pricing standards could bring another $1.5 million annually in sales tax revenues into state coffers because of increased sales in Connecticut, the JI reports. Smaller retailers, however, are likely to oppose the change because of concerns that large retailers could set prices too low for them to compete.

Observor February 12, 2013 at 01:24 PM
What this is really about is that people are buying booze in Massachusetts where it is cheaper because of lower taxes. The obvious solution would be to lower CT's taxes. But Malloy needs those taxes to placate the union bosses who hold his leash so he's cutting prices ths way. The current law had a secondary effect of boosting sales tax revenue because the state's cut goes up with the retail price, but when Mass. cut its taxes that didn't work so well anymore. That having been said, I have always opposed this and other laws that are designed to protect small liquor stores from competition. When supermarkets began to appear in the 1950s the state didn't protect little neighborhood grocery stores. Nor did it protect local drug stores from CVS and Rite Aid or hardware stores from Home Depot and Lowes. Why is this industry so special that the consumer must subsidize it by paying artificially inflated prices? There are still neghborhood grocers; they adapted by, e.g., offering better meats than the chains or ethnic foods that the chains won't stock. Some small hardware stores survive in the very shadow of the big boxes by offering know-how and items the boxes won't stock, such as a wider variety of nuts and bolts. Drop the minimum prices and let the market correct itself.
Stephen King February 12, 2013 at 09:27 PM
It's funny how once thought of sin taxes was meant to discourage consumption of a particular item only to now encourage it for further revenue capture. What's next, tax free holidays on cigarettes?

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