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CPSA Legislative Update: A Recap from May

By Carroll J. Hughes, Executive Director, CPSA 

Carroll J. Hughes, Executive Director, CPSA

Carroll J. Hughes, Executive Director, CPSA

On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, the General Assembly ended without repealing the minimum bottle provision. Governor Malloy tried three times to eliminate the statutory provision in his budget adjustments, but the legislature rejected it each time.

The “lingering issue” is that the budget adjustments have not been passed by the General Assembly, which has caused them to enter a special session at 12:01 a.m. on May 5. The budget and revenue package, with an implementer bill scheduled to be passed on May 4, did not include repeal of the minimum bottle charge.

This was done by leaders, budget negotiators, and the Democratic caucus in both the House and the Senate. This does not mean the Governor will not try again.

The budget had general support to be approved on May 4, but time has a way of unraveling support as interest groups who did not do well in the budget start contacting legislators. The General Assembly is expected to return to the legislature on May 12 and 13 to complete the budget adjustment, the implementer bill, and a bonding package.

As always, CPSA will determine changes’ effects on stores, if any, as well as product sales, and general business climate inclusions or exclusions before a caucus is held or a vote occurs.

Also removed from the last budget was a provision to expand the state bottle bill to wine and spirits bottles, as well as all other beverage containers not currently included in the bottle bill.

Through extensive lobbying in the closing days of the session, the provision was removed. It is clear the proposal will return next year. The issue was less an environmental issue than it was a revenue provision. A deposit fee of 15 cents was to be placed on each container with a five cent handling fee. A significant return on unredeemed deposits was the expected revenue source.

Those who were so helpful this year were the members and leadership of the General Law Committee:

Chairs

  • Senator Carlo Leone (D) Stamford, Darien
  • Representative David Baram (D) Bloomfield

Ranking Members

  • Representative Dan Carter (D) Bethel, Redding
  • Senator Kevin Witkos (R) Norfolk, Hartland, Canton, Simsbury, New Hartford, Avon, Colebrook, Granby, Harwinton and Torrington

Here are some points that were provided to all legislators during the past month opposing the repeal of the minimum bottle provision, which we have referred to as the “manufacturer’s suggested retail price.”

  • The loss of over 600 stores would occur if the minimum bottle suggested retail price is eliminated as originally proposed in SB 14.

And with that:

  • The loss of 2,000 package store jobs
  • The loss of 500 wholesaler drivers, sales persons, warehouse persons and marketing personnel
  • The loss of up to four independent small wholesalers with specialty products
  • The loss of six manufacturers of Connecticut produced products
  • The loss of more than $12 million in state DECD grants to beer and spirit manufacturers in CT whose products are primarily sold through small stores located in Stratford, Waterford, East Hartford, Manchester, Branford and Litchfield
  • The loss of more than $25 million in local property tax
  • The loss of more than $5 million in lottery sales revenue
  • The loss of $3 million in package store permit fees
  • The loss of $30 million in rents and mortgage payments
  • The loss of up to $10 million in sales tax revenue to the state
  • The loss of income tax to the state
  • The loss of brand selections in all stores
  • The loss of $6 million in out of state shipper permits and fees
  • The loss in the unemployment fund, and vehicle sales, as well as economic destabilization of shopping centers, etc.

CPSA members should contact their legislators to thank them for support in the past several months. Visit us for more information on any of these topics and more, at www.CTPSA.com.

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