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Should Virginia be in the liquor business?

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) fundamentally believes that running the liquor business ought not to be a government function. But as he prepares to call the legislature into a special session to consider privatizing the state's 76-year monopoly on the sale of hard alcohol, he faces a hard economic fact: The liquor business has been exceptionally profitable for the commonwealth. What do you think? Should Virginia be in the liquor business?

By Andrea Caumont  |  August 5, 2010; 6:54 AM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Is this recession really the best time to consider giving away a source of state income and state jobs?

Posted by: amk19 | August 5, 2010 8:10 AM

Yes - Hold McDonnell to his conservative word and privatize this. It will be politically unpopular and cost the state money. Let Cuccinelli run on that legacy.

Posted by: conchfc | August 5, 2010 10:35 AM

Privatizing liquor sales would do two things: Cost the state many millions of dollars of lost revenue, and put more liquor stores in low income areas, where nobody would benefit but the liquor store owners. It's such a completely dumb idea that only a Republican could favor it. Even the liquor industry itself isn't too thrilled with the idea.

Posted by: andym108 | August 5, 2010 4:12 PM

I think it is fine to privatize liquor sales as long as the governor and legislature raise taxes to cover the losses of annual revenue to the state. In principle there is no reason why the state should control liquor sales, but the state budgets and tax system have been structured around this situation. But Republicans aren't allowed to raise taxes, are they? If the Governor is going to slash budgets to state agencies even more just to be able to do this privatizations, then it is not worthwhile; although it is a reasonable thing to do, there is no especially compelling reason to do so.

Posted by: harrumph1 | August 5, 2010 8:12 PM

I am wondering, why the touted "Jobs Governor", is willing to send thousands of Virginia state employees to the unemployment line, and now that unemployment payment benefits have been extended, that could have a substantial impact on the Virginia Employment Commission, employees, and claims officers.

Also, there has been no mention of how the licensee customers (bars and restaurants) will deal with the proposed changes with the privatization of liquor stores.

If the number of stores are increased, then the state will need to increase the number of enforcement officers. The Governor has not addressed the already overworked Alcholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents, in enforcing underage drinking, and sales to minors. Privatization would lead to corruption of laws regarding sales to minors.

As far as a comparison of sales between Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, I challange any supporter of the Virginia Governor's plan, to visit the stores in D.C., and Prince Georges county Maryland. The sale of condoms, rolling papers, R rated-magazines, and other adult items, is not what Virginia wants to be known for in their liqour stores.

Another area of interest, is the rural ABC employees, who have their employment as the major source of income to their families. These individuals will be sent deeper into poverty, and may have to forclose on their homes.

Why does the Governor need to let his religious beliefs try to change the will of the people of Virginia? "Separation of Church and State". It is all about the people, not the liqour. If the people want liqour, let them have the freedom to do so, and let the state profit from their will.

Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control needs to put a survey option on the agency website. Let the people soundoff directly to the VA ABC.

Posted by: Donbert | August 5, 2010 11:50 PM

Is this recession really the best time to consider giving away a source of state income and state jobs?
Posted by: amk19 | August 5, 2010 8:10 AM


Just because bureaucrats won't have those jobs does not mean those jobs will go away. The state employees that lose their jobs can apply to the new business owner for their old job. Hey, they even have the experience required.

Posted by: millionea81 | August 6, 2010 1:20 PM

It's a great idea and won't cost anybody their jobs and they will actually create more jobs by being able to open more locations anywhere they like and maybe get better operating hours as well. The state should just tax liquor sales higher after they do this just like tobacco and if they ever legalize marijuana they should tax the heck out of it too.

Posted by: zcxnissan | August 8, 2010 1:03 AM

Monopolies are always a bad idea, public or private. Impose a liquor tax or sell liquor licenses to make up for the difference and let private firms sell liquor.

I don't see what interest the state has in selling alcohol, but at least it's not as restrictive as Maryland.

Posted by: AxelDC | August 19, 2010 10:27 AM

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