State Senator Proposes Holiday On Alcohol Tax [Fox CT]

February 10, 2014

Fox CT reports

One state senator is hoping to give people a relief during the holidays.

State Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, has proposed legislation that would eliminate the 6.35 percent sales tax on alcohol, beer and wine from Nov. 15 to Dec. 31. This is what he calls a “trial period.” If it’s successful, like he thinks it will be, the goal would to be end the sales tax on alcoholic beverages entirely.

“The price drives competition. If it’s cheaper someplace else, people go where it’s cheaper,” said Sen. Witkos. “All of the state’s surrounding us are eliminating it. How are we supposed to remain competitive if we keep it in there?”

Sen. Witkos is looking at the profit our neighbors net. He hopes to be competitive with Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, all of which he said have done away with the tax on the beverages.

Aimee Heuschkel said she used to drive across the border for cheaper booze. She said the proposal would help save her money here and there.

“I think it’s great. I think prices are already high on alcohol, and every little bit helps,” she said.

Sarah Allen of Simsbury agreed, saying: “I think it’s a great idea. I think with the amount of alcohol purchased it would save a lot of people a lot of money.”

The idea behind it is that the state won’t lose money. While Connecticut won’t be netting millions from the sales tax, the excise tax, which is put on at the manufacturing level will help offset the balance because more people will stay here to buy the booze, according to Sen. Witkos.

Stephen Robillard works at Avon Wines & Sprits. He’s a bit unsure of how it would impact the business.

“It wouldn’t be a bad idea to do a test trial. That could really help,” he said. “It would be cool to see different parts of the state and where it would affect us.”

The trial period would run through the holidays if the legislation passes. If it’s successful, Sen. Witkos said the next goal in mind would be to end sales tax on all alcoholic beverages in the state entirely.

If this bill doesn’t pass, Sen. Witkos is sponsoring another bill that’s similar. That one would eliminate the sales tax only on beer.