Lawmaker Proposes New Bill to End Tax on Alcohol

By Josh Chapin
|  Friday, Feb 7, 2014  |  Updated 11:39 PM EDT
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One lawmaker is proposing a trial program where there would be no sales tax on alcohol.  He says its not about the cheaper booze, but its about boosting the economy.

One lawmaker is proposing a trial program where there would be no sales tax on alcohol. He says its not about the cheaper booze, but its about boosting the economy.

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Imagine not paying sales tax on alcohol.  One lawmakers wants to make it a reality.

Sen. Kevin Witkos, R-Canton, urges Connecticut residents to shop locally, in this case for alcohol and specifically during the holidays.

The legislation he's proposing would exempt beer, wine and liquor from sales tax from November 15 to December 31. It's a 6 week trial program to see if sales jump.

The owner of the Wine Thief in New Haven is on board.

"For our sales and our retail sales, I think it's going to be more of an incentive for people to buy alcohol in Connecticut," said Karl Ronne. "Everyone is going to save that 6.35% on every product they purchase from us. That's a considerable discount."

It's something shoppers mostly agreed would be a huge positive.

"You'd have less people crossing the border for booze or any other kinds of goods," said Eric Tracy of Providence, who's all too familiar with this scenario. He just moved to Providence from Windsor Locks.

"Everyone would drive across the border to fill up on gas and then whatever was convenient that's what they'd purchase also," Tracy added.

But not everyone thinks so.

"It's only six percent. It's not that much. Unless someone is buying enough alcohol for a wedding then that might make a difference," said Pammi Bhullar of Maryland.

Karl Ronne's only concern is revenue which Witkos says can be made up in other ways. The goal is to maintain competitive with bordering states Rhode Island and Massachusetts which did away with sales tax on alcohol this summer.

"You already find that in Connecticut the prices for alcohol are more expensive than they are in NY and Massachusetts," said Brian Dore of New Haven

NBC Connecticut reached out to state police to see if they feel this new law would lead to more drinking and driving. They told us they'd support whatever law or bill the legislature approves.

A public hearing on the bill is expected in March.

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