Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has signed a bill expanding the off-premise sale of beer, wine and liquor on Sundays. Like Indiana, Connecticut previously only allowed carry-out sales of wine at wineries and beer at small breweries on Sundays.
The advocates of easier access to alcohol in Indiana will now say we are the only state without Sunday sales. The truth is that Indiana is one of 12 states that prohibits any Sunday sales of liquor and one of 32 states that does not have the statewide sale of liquor on Sundays.
If Indiana were to do what those who favor easier access to alcohol advocate, we would be more like California than Connecticut. California is one of only a few states that has essentially deregulated the sale of alcohol. In Connecticut, you can't buy liquor in a grocery store, and you can't buy beer in a gas station.
Allowing liquor stores in Connecticut to sell liquor will not put anyone out of business. In Indiana, 250 small businesses would go out of business, and a thousand employees would lose their jobs at stores like Wal-Mart, which allows easy access to alcohol, and would increase its market share at the expense of locally owned and operated package stores. There would be a shift in where alcohol is sold, but there would be no increase in tax revenue or employment, as some have claimed.
The sale of alcohol that now takes place six days a week would simply be spread out over seven days. Hoosiers would have fewer choices of locations and fewer choices of alcohol products, as items that only package stores carry would be harder to find.
The debate in Indiana over the past five years has not been about when alcohol can be sold as much as it's been about who sells it and how. Hoosiers have told us that they want alcohol to be regulated and they prefer the restrictions state law requires for package stores. We don't believe allowing liquor stores to sell liquor on Sundays in Connecticut will change how Hoosiers want alcohol sales to be regulated in Indiana.
In the end, the question is, "Do we want to be more like extremely liberal California or more like a common-sense state like Connecticut that has said 'no' to those calling for deregulation?" I think I know how Hoosiers will answer that question.
Indiana Association of Beverage Retailer
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