DISCUS

Connecticut Could Lose $3.6 Million to Massachusetts and New York, Distilled Spirits Council Testifies

February 18, 2004 07:00 PM
HARTFORD, February 19, 2004 – In testimony today before the General Law Committee, the Distilled Spirits Council testified that rolling back Connecticut’s antiquated Blue Law would help stop cross-border sales while bringing consumers added convenience and the state much-needed revenue. Under the legislation, SB 44, Connecticut package stores would be permitted to sell beer, wine and distilled spirits products on Sundays for the first time since Prohibition. “With the recent passage of Sunday sales in New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut can no longer afford to hold on to this antiquated Blue Law,” said Distilled Spirits Council Vice President David Wojnar, whose organization has lobbied aggressively for the legislation. “Connecticut must allow package stores to open their doors on Sunday if it wants to remain competitive with neighboring states.” Wojnar shared with the committee an economic analysis showing that Connecticut could generate up to $4.8 million in new excise taxes and an additional $8.4 million in sales taxes by allowing an additional day of sale. Further, Wojnar stated that if the legislature fails to pass Sunday sales, Connecticut stands to lose $3.6 million annually as a result of cross border sales to Massachusetts and New York. “I would love to open on Sunday. This would allow me to compete with Massachusetts,” said Angie Nugyes of Stateline Liquors in Enfield. Wojnar also pointed out with the increase in dual income households, Sunday is now the second busiest shopping day of the week. “More and more states are modernizing their Sunday alcohol sales laws to meet this consumer demand.” Last November, Massachusetts became the sixth state in the past two years to approve Sunday sales expansions. Others included New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Rhode Island (during holiday season) -- bringing the total number of states that permit Sunday spirits sales to 27. Wojnar said that many of the states that recently passed Sunday sales are already experiencing an immediate boost in revenue including Delaware and Pennsylvania, which are both reporting a 10 percent increase in sales. Wojnar concluded by stressing that this legislation will not force package store owners to open, but rather will provide them with more choices. “While some package stores may choose not to open, this legislation will give Connecticut package store owners a level playing field and the added flexibility to make their own decisions,” said Wojnar. The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the national trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., DISCUS is led by Dr. Peter H. Cressy, former head of a university. CONTACT: Frank Coleman or Lisa Hawkins Telephone: 202-682-8840 SCROLLER Publication Name: Publication Author:
 

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