Rep. Tony D’Amelio (R-71) today voted against a bill in the General law Committee that will change how liquor is sold across Connecticut and could have far-reaching negative impacts to small businesses across the state.
HB 5021– An Act Concerning Competitive Alcoholic Liquor Pricing and Hours of Operation for Permittees, referred to as the “Sunday sales” bill, was originally proposed by the Governor to include some fundamental changes to the liquor purchasing system, including the elimination of minimum pricing regulations, but was altered by the General Law Committee before today’s vote.
“Even though changes were made from the Governor’s original proposals I voted against this bill because it doesn’t go far enough to protect our small businesses,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “This bill does nothing to address the cost structure of alcohol in our state, especially with regard to taxes and competitiveness along our border towns.”
Hundreds of people came to the Capitol in February to weigh in on the issue and many liquor store owners complained the Governor’s proposals would cost jobs and hurt small businesses. While the version that passed today included only the major change that would allow package stores to be open on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. it removed any structural pricing changes that will benefit the consumer.
“Even if Connecticut ultimately approves Sunday alcohol sales people are still going to drive across our borders to save money on their purchases,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “It’s basic math, if it costs less somewhere else people will drive a bit to get it.”
HB 5021 will now go to the full legislature for further debate.