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Promoting “Connecticut Made” Products
I believe one surefire way to boost the economy is to support local businesses and help them expand. That’s why I am pushing for legislation that would create a “Connecticut Made” marketing campaign to promote homegrown businesses that produce or sell products made right here in Connecticut.
In March, I visited Max Baldwin at his business, Baldwin Lawn Furniture in Middletown, to highlight how a “Connecticut Made” marketing campaign could help him sell more of his wooden furniture. I was so impressed with Max’s shop and showroom; his business is the perfect example of one that would benefit from a campaign promoting locally made items.
The proposed legislation, part of Senate Bill 1—the Jobs Bill, calls for the creation of a “Connecticut Made” logo for use in advertising and for placement in store fronts and at fairs and markets. Businesses that join the program would be allowed to use the logo for products and would be included in state-coordinated marketing campaigns, including an official “Connecticut Made” website.
Owners would be eligible to receive marketing and business advice from the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s Small Business Office.
Bringing Relief at the Pump
As gas prices continue to climb, we must do all we can help consumers find relief at the pump. Last month, I joined my colleagues in the Senate in passing a comprehensive plan that caps the gross receipts tax at $3 a gallon wholesale.
More importantly, our plan strengthens protections against price gouging, cracks down on oil profiteering, and requires that savings from the cap on the gross receipts tax get passed along to consumer.
The bill that I brought out on the Senate floor, and which passed unanimously, will bring modest relief for consumers. I now urge our federal delegation to take action to crack down on oil speculation and market manipulation on Wall Street to bring down gas prices even further.
The Democrats’ proposal:
Allowing Sunday Alcohol Sales
Connecticut is one of only two states in the nation that does not currently allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays. As Senate chairman of the General Law Committee, I led passage of a bipartisan compromise bill that will finally change that law.
The bill, which now goes for a vote in the House and Senate, would permit the sale of alcohol on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which enables stores in Connecticut to open earlier than in Massachusetts.
It also increases the number of stores a package store owner can own from two to three, and allows store owners to choose one item a month to sell at a 10-percent discount.
Importantly, the bill establishes a task force to further study liquor reform proposals that raised questions that were unable to be fully researched in the short session.
Connecticut’s liquor laws have been a highly controversial subject for many years, and I am happy to see this bill move forward. I think it strikes a balance between upholding consumer rights and protecting the livelihood of mom and pop package store owners throughout our state.