Political Capitol

Brian Lockhart covers the Connecticut General Assembly in Hartford

Mayor Pavia opposes Sunday booze sales

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I bumped into a lobbyist at the capitol today who represents the state’s package stores.

We got to talking about the ongoing debate over whether lawmakers should allow stores to sell booze on Sundays in an effort to boost state revenues (the group he represents – the Connecticut Package Stores Association – is against the idea).

Remembering I work for the Stamford Advocate, he handed me a copy of a letter from that city’s newly-minted Republican Mayor Michael Pavia to Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell expressing his opposition to Sunday sales.

The Mayors of Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven all recently came out in favor of Sunday sales.

Here’s what Pavia wrote:

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“Sunday sales of alcohol are erroneously being promoted by its advocates as a tax revenue generator in this budget crisis. I join my colleage Mayor Giuliano in Middletown, as well as the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, the CT Coalition Against Underage Drinking, the MADD Connecticut Chapter, CT Prevention Network, Regional Substance Abuse Councils and local Youth Directors, all of whom oppose any new legislation to expand liquor sales to Sundays.”

“As a small business owner myself, I understand the difficulty in maintaining a payroll and meeting expenses. Package store owners are small business owners that create jobs; being open another day merely taxes their bottom line and increases their costs in overhead. It will increase their operational costs and overhead by 15 percent with little or no increased sales revenue. Sales that are normally captured in six days will now spread out over 7 days. Smaller package store owners, who do not or cannot afford to open Sundays, are expected to lose some of their market share to larger outlets and chains who will open on Sundays.”

“The push by some who believe that people will drink more because of an additional day of sale is misguided and only burdens our package stores financially without substantial additional revenue for the state.”

“I appreciate you time and consdiration of the importance of oposing Sunday sales.”

Categories: General
Brian Lockhart

8 Responses

  1. Full Disclosure says:

    While I respect Mayor Pavia and his values, he is so wrong about this. I think the blogger who mentioned people would come to CT to buy alcohol and then go the mall etc. are well taken. Allow the alcohol sales …get with the times. Sorry Mayor you are wrong on this issue

  2. I understand supporting small businesses, but as a Connecticut resident and a buyer of alcohol, I think the free-market should prevail. The system as it stands is just totally absurd.

    –CP

  3. Keith says:

    I do not understand how a few hundred package store owners can stop Sunday beer sales from happenning. These mom and pop delis and grocery stores has the big supermarkets rammed down their throats, now only the package stores are special. If sales of beer on Sunday is bad then all sales of booze should be against the law. Bring back prohibition. RI,NY, and MA are laughing with beer purchases by CT residens on Sunday. keep the money in Ct

  4. Fuzzy Dunlop says:

    I also don’t understand the argument that these “mom and pop” businesses would be hurt by potentially having competition that is open on Sunday. Lots of other small businesses somehow figure out how to deal with this. And no one is talking about allowing grocery stores to sell liquor or wine… you would still need to go to a package store for those things. I find it simply unbelievable that Sunday sales would destroy these businesses.

    Mayor Pavia’s policy regarding this matter should cause people to reconsider how much of a truly independent chief executive he plans to be…. because no rational person (especially no rational business loving Republican) who would support the Sunday ban in a vacuum… it’s only once the Connecticut Package Store Association and its lobbyists gets its hooks into politicians that they see the light.

  5. Sunday Yes says:

    Of course Carol Hughes is trying to get a Mayor to draft this letter. Unfortunately, the Mayor doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    Just look at the cars in MA and NY on Sunday with CT plates and tell me there was no extra tax money available.

    And just look at the states that recently passed Sunday sales…no increased drunk driving rates. Besides, bars are open on Sunday…what’s the difference?

    Publius is correct…all this ban does is protect package store owners from competition.

  6. Publius says:

    This is simple. IF alcohol is a vice, and endangers the public, why just ban its sale on Sunday? Is liquor sold on Sunday more dangerous than liquor sold on Wednesday? If the liquor store owners feel their product is so dangerous, why are they selling it?

    The only reason to ban alcohol sales on Sunday is to protect the package store owners from competition. If we do that, why don’t we do the same for grocery store owners? or clothing store owners?

    It’s time to stop the hypocrisy. Package stores should be regulated the way other retail stores are regulated unless they can show objective reasons otherwise that don’t involve suppressing competition.

  7. Fuzzy Dunlop says:

    Isn’t Pavia a Republican? I thought Republicans were supposed to be all about free enterprise and open competition. Every reason he gave against Sunday sales (protecting a certain TYPE of business) is anti-competitive. Hell, I’ll say it… the ban on Sunday sales to protect a chosen consortium of business entities is downright un-American.

    The only reason this blue laws are tolerated is because they regulate a vice, alcohol. What if we decided that we wanted to protect local, family owned bike stores by banning the sale of bicycles on Sundays, so the little guy could more easily compete against, say, Sports Authority?

    Mayor Pavia should also be mindful, that in a city like Stamford, it’s not just loss of revenue from alcohol that is at issue. The problem is that, particularly in a bordertowns in Fairfield county, some people do their sunday shopping in Westchester, where they can buy beer at grocery stores. This is especially the case on holidays like the fourth of July, when people might have forgotten to think ahead. They end up not just buying booze across the border, but hotdogs, buns, etc. etc. too.

    Next time Brian, you should ask Mayor Pavia if he’d think twice about this if the liquor stores didn’t have a powerful lobbying group working on their behalf.

  8. Common Sense says:

    No one’s forcing him to open on Sundays. So others open and if it’s a bust they;ll close too. However, if it’s profitable, then the one’s that choose to close, do so so at their own choice and peril. That’s why they call it free enterprise – to the worker go the spoils!