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Liquor Store Owners Ready For Battle Over Minimum Pricing Plan

Operators of small package stores are decrying Connecticut's proposal to eliminate a law that now protects small liquor stores from their larger competitors.

A proposal to eliminate the state's minimum pricing law for retail alcohol sales is getting serious opposition from liquor store owners.

The business owners say if the law is repealed, which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has proposed, many of them would go out of business, crushed by larger competitors who can buy booze in bulk and set much lower prices.

Testifying before a legislative panel earlier this week, Carroll Hughes, executive director of the Connecticut Package Stores Association, and himself a package store owner, told a legislative committee that the minimum pricing law was established to help protect small business owners against larger competitors who might otherwise sell alcohol at rock-bottom prices, the Connecticut Post reports. 

"It's not a public service, where you sell it at cost," the newspaper quotes Hughes, who testified in Hartford on Tuesday during a public hearing on the plan. He was one of dozens of package store owners who attended the hearing before the legislature's Planning and Development Committee.

Malloy has said the law should abolished because it goes against free market principles and hurts consumers by propping up higher retail prices of alcohol.

"We would not allow the car industry to set a minimum price on cars," Malloy told reporters Tuesday at the state Capitol, according to the Hartford Courant. "We wouldn't allow other industries to conspire to set prices. Somehow and some way, we decided it was OK to charge people in Connecticut more for liquor than they are charged in the surrounding states and to defend that system. And for the life of me, I don't understand it."

Malloy took on the liquor stores association last year when he proposed, and won passage of, legislation to abolish a ban on Sunday alcohol sales, an old law that he said also hurt Connecticut consumers because neighboring states allowed their package stores to open on Sundays.

Bill Fasula February 27, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Minimum price, minimum wage, it's all the same government interference with commerce.
vince February 28, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Malloy, Obama what is the difference bye bye mom and pop shops!!
Sick of Malloy March 01, 2013 at 12:50 AM
The liquor manufacturers set the prices they charge the distributors. Connecticut has higher income so they charge more than other states. Do auto makers charge more in Connecticut than other states? When Malloy took office he immediately raised the excise tax 20% on liquor and cigarettes. That’s why our prices are higher. Than we tax the sale @ 6.35 percent another Malloy tax increase. Did he forget these facts? Malloy is obviously in bed with the liquor manufacturers. First he was going to make up $500 million in lost revenues by selling alcohol 52 more days per year. Next he wants to reduce the selling price which will in turn lower the amount of sales tax causing lost revenue. He must have failed math. Just like his new plan of not taxing for auto’s under 20k in value. Where will the towns get the lost revenue? By raising the mill rate on our properties. What does that accomplish? A lot of nothing. Malloy should do the right thing and resign like the pope.
Raymond Dayton March 01, 2013 at 01:32 AM
Mom & Pop shops think they should be treated as a charity. The buying public should not be required to subsidize them by paying higher prices just because the little stores cannot compete. Their importance as employers is a myth. Having to work two, three or more 19 hour a week, minimum wage, no benefit jobs is not the American dream, and not the future American workers need if they are to feed their families and help grow our economy.

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