They’re back. The arguments to send Connecticut blue laws back into the history bin is always entertaining. Armed with a new economic report, the legislature is planning to review Sunday liquor sales in Connecticut.
On the one side, the legislature is facing a deficit that can only be softened by somehow figuring out new revenue sources. On the other side, the package store association that argues that opening package stores on Sunday would either a) force package stores out of business or b) dilute sales that would otherwise occur Monday through Saturday.
Then there’s all the other special interests that will come out and pick a side to promote whatever morality is selling at the moment. If the legislature was smart, they’d hold the hearings on a Sunday, offer free samples, and see what happens.
The legislatures have a report that says that the State would pick up an extra 7 to 8 million dollars in tax revenues. The package store association says that number is inflated. Needless to point out that the package store association doesn’t watch football on Sundays. Grocery stores, right before the game, between games and after games, seem to do a pretty good business with people who are adorned with NFL team apparel. Perhaps the package stores real problem is that they don’t sell the munchies along with the beer and feel left out.
That brings up the question of why do we have package stores in the first place? Nothing like traveling to another city and seeing grocery stores selling all the ingredients for a mojito that includes fresh mint, ginger and limes as well as 31 flavors of rum.
It’s not like restaurants in Connecticut aren’t open on Sundays. Somehow Hartford doesn’t have a problem with restaurants serving alcohol on Sundays. Does anyone really think that the Sunday restaurants hours take away from business during the rest of the week? Some restaurants are even closed Mondays, voluntarily. Some close for lunch. Somehow they all manage to stay in business.
The report also points out that border towns perform 35-45% below sales in on border towns. This would indicate that price and convenience, the two pillars of any retail establishment, seem to work against Connecticut broder towns. Something State Senator John Kissel-R had the best quote on the subject in Chris Keating’s Courant report, ” Massachusetts and New York and Rhode Island laugh at us sometimes because we are so slow to change. I think that argument [for Sunday sales] has strong grounds now.”