Friday, March 19, 2010

Another voice calls for simplifying the liquor Connecticut

Just saw this editorial from Chris Powell in the Middletown (Conn.) Press. His thesis: the reason there are so many "mom and pop" liquor stores in Connecticut is because it's about political patronage. Take a look at these bits:

Through licensing regulations state government has erected many barriers to entry, particularly barriers to doing business on a large scale with low cost and efficiency. There are more than 40 categories of liquor permits and they are tightly controlled. Supermarkets can sell only beer, not other alcoholic beverages. State government controls the hours of operation for alcohol sales, and Sunday sales are banned. The state also controls and pushes up liquor prices...
Liquor takes up 100 pages in the Connecticut General Statutes, but state regulation is just a start. Then there are the usual municipal zoning regulations. State law even allows towns to forbid liquor sales on their own, and some towns still do, as if their own liquor traffic is properly foisted on neighboring towns.
The scheme has been to diminish competition, drive costs up, put more people into the business, and make them dependent on political favor.
Sound familiar? Go read the rest. We're not alone, either in our problems or in our desire for a solution.

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