McDonnell pushes to privatize Virginia’s liquor stores

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) argued again today for his proposal
to privatize the commonwealth’s liquor stores by auctioning off licenses
and using the windfall for transportation construction.

McDonnell raised this idea during last year’s campaign, but so far
has met with skepticism. Critics fear the state will lose revenue and
that privatization would mean less efficient regulation of alcoholic
beverages.

Speaking on WTOP radio today, McDonnell argued that not only would
the state receive a windfall from the sale of the licenses, but it would
continue to benefit financially through annual taxes and fees, The Washington Post reported on its website.

The governor made an argument that should resonate in Montgomery
County, Maryland, the nation’s only county controlled liquor
distribution system, and in other control states such as
Pennsylvania:

“I don’t think selling alcohol is a core function of government —
neither do most people,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a core function
of government to do it and I think the private sector can run the stores
more efficiently. There are free market incentives to do it.” 

More efficiently? Let’s see, in Montgomery County, all
alcoholic beverages are distributed out of an un-air conditioned
warehouse (and of course we’re baking in record heat this summer), with
only one delivery per licensee per week. And the county tacks on a 25%
surcharge for privilege of cooking your wine for you. Not to mention
that most MoCo liquor stores have all the charm and warmth of a
methadone clinic. The situation has gotten a little better – we have a
few privately owned stores with dedicated owners that are willing to
make the extra effort to work with the county and distributors. But the
system is archaic and, like Virginia’s, should be privatized.

This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Maryland, Virginia, Washington Post, Wine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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