This Sunday there will be people from Connecticut buying liquor. They’ll be sitting at a bar or at a restaurant, and then perhaps driving home. There will also be people from Connecticut buying liquor in Rhode Island, New York or Massachusetts and bringing it back into our state to drink at their homes. Why? Liquor stores are open in those states but not in Connecticut, it is illegal here.
Sunday liquor store openings was a hot topic earlier this year that died quickly, thanks to a powerful lobby that represents store owners that do not want to open. The issue will likely be raised again this year, and this morning on “Face the State” House Speaker Chris Donovan told me he is open to the discussion in the 2011 session.
There are several arguments for and against Sunday liquor store openings and plenty of rebuttals.
1. Mom and Pop stores can’t afford to be open seven days a week
Rebuttal: Lawmakers could rule that liquor stores must close on Mondays instead of Sundays
2. People should be able to buy liquor on Sundays because it is a day of family events, sporting events, parties, etc.
Rebuttal: People should plan their liquor purchases in advance
3. Opening stores on Sundays would lead to an increase in drunk driving
Rebuttal: If lawmakers are concerned about that why don’t they shut bars down on Sundays, or limit their hours
4. Stores in border towns lose revenue to out of state shops
Rebuttal: That’s life
And the list goes on.
Speaker Donovan also told me is open to a discussion about tolls, although he admits state representatives in border communities are against them. In terms of a tax hike, he says if there is one, look for it to be a hike in the income tax for those making over $250,000.