Liquor law battle at the Capitol

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Part two of Governor Malloy's liquor law battle is underway at the State Capitol.

He won round one last year getting allowing liquor sales on he wants to change the state's complicated pricing policy that he says makes the state uncompetitive with the surrounding states.

Since last May, Connecticut consumers have been able to purchase beer, wine and spirits on Sundays and most holidays.
Many store owners say it has not increased business, but part two of the Malloy administration's liquor law battle is to abolish Connecticut's minimum pricing rules.

The only ones in the nation; rules designed to protect small stores by setting the price for a bottle no matter if you buy one or an entire case it has to be the same.

"We feel that the minimum pricing artificially inflates pricing for the consumer," said Arthur DeSisto, Total Wine & More in Norwalk, "forcing, in many instances, forcing customers to shop neighboring states."

The administration believes in the northern tier of the state, it results in the loss of at least $2.5 million a year in tax revenue as people flock to lower prices in Massachusetts.  
Dominic Alaimo, who operates a store on the border in Enfield, says it will help him compete against the so-called big box stores.

"If this guy is buying liquor by the case, cheaper than I am, this law will allow me to buy two bottles equal to the price that he pays for 12 bottles," said Alaimo.

However, many small store operators around the state flooded to the Capitol again Tuesday, saying big box liquor retailers will move in and it will force them and the dozen or so small distillers that operate in the state, out of business.

"They want to bring the national brands in, sell them at cost basically, and drive all the small guys out," said Greg Carlon, Castle Wine & Spirits in Westport. "They would drive the small liquor companies out, the small liquor wholesalers out as well."

"The marketplace will change and the small brands will be affected," said Mike Scalise, CT Small Brand Council, "whether it be shelf space or pricing."
Some liquor store owners have told News 8 that the state sales tax is another big problem.
Massachusetts does not charge sales tax on beer, wine and liquor.

The state tax commissioner told News 8 Tuesday that abolishing the sales tax on beer, wine and liquor could be next year's battle here.

Copyright 2014 WTNH TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Connecticut (change)

Connecticut has 169 cities and towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state. Connecticut is the 5th of the original thirteen United States.
Offices & Officials

Governor: Dan Malloy
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman
Attorney General: George Jepsen
State Treasurer: Denise L. Nappier

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