Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is calling on the legislature to update Connecticut’s liquor retail pricing law, claiming that it sets “unnecessarily high prices for consumers.”
Malloy’s proposal – formally Senate Bill 789, An Act Concerning the Regional Competitiveness of Connecticut’s Alcoholic Liquor Prices – would reverse a 36-year-old law that requires retail stores to sell alcohol at prices set by liquor wholesalers. The governor claimed that this created “artificially inflated” prices and forces Connecticut consumers to go to other states to buy alcohol for less money.
“Connecticut is the only state in the country that has a law mandating that the retailers of alcoholic beverages sell their products at a minimum price above wholesale cost determined by the wholesaler industry,” Malloy stated. This means that – unlike everywhere else in the nation – these retailers cannot set the prices of the products that they put on the shelves in their own stores. As a result of this law, which the state adopted in 1981, the artificially determined prices typically end up being higher than the prices that these products sell for in nearly every other state in the country, forcing Connecticut residents to either pay more money or travel to a bordering state where the identical products are sold at a lower price.”
Malloy, who successfully introduced a similar bill last year, added that his proposal would “allow small-business owners to sell wine and liquor using a more reasonable, logical criteria: actual cost paid. This is the standard used in each of Connecticut’s neighboring states and nearly everywhere else throughout the country, where many small package stores continue to thrive.” The bill is now pending consideration before the legislature’s General Law Committee.