CT Package Stores Vs. State Tax Commissioner Kevin Sullivan On Sunday Alcohol Sales

by Categorized: Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford Date:

The state\’s tax commissioner, Kevin B. Sullivan, announced recently that the state\’s move to allow the Sunday sales of alcohol has been a success, citing increased tax revenue coming into the state coffers.

Sunday sales has been highly controversial as the state\’s package stores association has questioned it for years, predicting that the stores would simply sell the same amount of liquor in seven days as they had previously in six days before the law changed.

Now, Carroll Hughes, the longtime chief lobbyist for the package stores, says Sullivan is jumping the gun on declaring success. Hughes noted that the state does not have even a full year\’s worth of statistics to make any judgments, saying that the jury is still out on Sunday sales.

\”It\’s definitely premature,\’\’ Hughes said in an interview. \”He can\’t judge it being a success.\’\’

Hughes argues that it\’s not simply the sales levels that should be analyzed. His members, he said, have endured more overhead that includes heat and electricity on Sundays, as well as sometimes paying overtime rates for employees on a day when the shop had previously been closed. In addition, Hughes argues that much of the increased beer sales have switched to the supermarkets, which have long been open on Sundays.

\”You can\’t claim the success of Sunday sales when you\’re down or even,\’\’ Hughes said. \”My people told me they either broke even or were down a half a percent.\’\’

But Sullivan will have none of it.

\”The numbers are the numbers,\’\’ Sullivan said in an interview at the state Capitol. \”I\’m absolutely confident there has been an increase in sales.\’\’

Sullivan added that he never said that all of the package stores would see increased sales or see their profits increase. Instead, he noted that non-beer sales statewide are up, adding that those sales must be at package stores because supermarkets are prohibited from selling wine and liquor.

\”I think we do have the data,\’\’ Sullivan told Capitol Watch.\’\’This ship has sailed. Last call on that argument. Time to move on.\’\’

The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on courant.com articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

11 thoughts on “CT Package Stores Vs. State Tax Commissioner Kevin Sullivan On Sunday Alcohol Sales

  1. Sharpshooter

    Hughes argues that it’s not simply the sales levels that should be analyzed. His members, he said, have endured more overhead that includes heat and electricity on Sundays, as well as sometimes paying overtime rates for employees on a day when the shop had previously been closed.

    No Mr. Hughes…it has nothing to do with the issues you raise…it only has to do with the amount of taxes collected. The law was not designed to improve sales at any package store…only to collect taxes lost on Sunday to bordering states.

  2. Ed

    Legalize marijuana and let the package stores sell that… not only will it be a cash cow for taxe revenue, but I’m sure the package stores will make a bundle, too… How much worse is pot than alcohol anyway?

  3. Centrist

    So, package stores have issues that every other business that opens on a Sunday has? Worries of utilities and pay for workers tipping into overtime? Specialization making beer less profitable than wine/liquor? What a shocker! Here’s a tip on overtime issues Mr. Hughes that you can provide to your members: hire more PT workers. Get more unemployed/underemployed residents a new source of income and less worries of overtime. And here’s another: most grocery stores only carry the big brands at a time when craft-brews in-state and out of state are growing in popularity. And a third: Some grocery stores are succeeding in part because they’re offering ‘make your own 6-packs’ to customers. It gives a flat rate to try out new/unique ales. Maybe you should do the same?

    And let’s remember folks, Sunday sales is OPTIONAL. Like any other business, they don’t need to be open on a Sunday if they’re earning less than break-even on that day. But Mr. Hughes will respond ‘we have to open on Sundays!’. Why? ‘Because we have to compete with grocery stores!’. So you have to compete, just like any other business in a capitalism-centric nation? ‘…yeah! It’s not fair!’. Sadly, capitalism is not always fair, but it is what it is.

  4. theb

    Mr. Hughes says that it’s too early to determine whether Sunday Sales has been a success, but then he says that it’s not too early to call it a failure?

  5. Fatdaddy

    Kevin Sullivan can’t be trusted.
    He can’t even collect the taxes due from individuals and companies…check the top-100 lists of deadbeats.
    Very much like Dan Malloy, he shots his mouth off, is fast and loose with facts and when challenged he does the
    “distraction” thing and says “move on”…
    What an administration. They seem to want to make Rowland look good!!

  6. Bill Mainor

    A year ago, Carroll Hughes warned that Sunday Sales would cause 600 package stores to go out of business. How many have closed Mr. Hughes? The ship, indeed, has sailed and Connecticut’s consumers finally got a win.

    1. Brian C. Duffy

      I think it’s kind of break even. I shop at my local guy and told him last year I would support his decision re: open Sunday or not. He opened Sundays but since then has shortened his hours. No big deal.

      It’s sort of a win/win because I don’t feel pressured to load up on Saturday and I almost feel guilty if I don’t patronize him on Sunday to justify his decision to be open.

      Another wrinkle: It used to be worth it from a mileage standpoint to drive to Southwick, get gas and beer on a Sunday….but the gas/mileage savings were only realized if I purchased something else (booze). No longer cost effective since CT Sunday sales.

  7. Kim

    it’s premature to call tax receipts a success, but it wasn’t premature for this group to claim that Sunday sales would have not impact when the law was being debated?

Comments are closed.