New coalition forms to push for liquor privatization
Grocery stores and other retail outlets that favor privatizing the sale of alcohol in Virginia have quietly formed a coalition to make a major legislative and public push for the idea once Gov. Bob McDonnell brings forward his plan to sell state-run stores.
The ABC Privatization Coalition was officially formed June 30, according to paperwork filed with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. The group listed Matthew Kirsner as its registered agent, a lawyer who works with the lobbying firm Eckert Seamans, whose clients include the Virginia Retail Merchants Association and the Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association, both groups that favor the idea.
Among the retail outlets steering the new coalition are grocery chains that sell beer and wine, such as Wal-Mart, Costco, Kroger, Safeway and Food Lion, according to a source familiar with its founding.
The coalition group is getting its ducks in a row, preparing for a fall push for McDonnell's privatization proposal. The proposal will probably be the state's big legislative showdown of the fall and possibly of McDonnell's whole term in office.
The state has controlled the wholesale and retail sale of distilled spirits in Virginia for 76 years. McDonnell promised during last year's campaign that he would privatize the stores, collecting several hundred million in cash to put toward the state's crumbling transportation network. Democrats have expressed deep skepticism about the idea because the stores provide more than $200 million a year in steady revenue for the state's general fund.
McDonnell's staffers have been quietly meeting with industry representatives and others for weeks. They hope to propose some ideas for privatization next month.
July 13, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories: General Assembly 2010 , House of Delegates , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman , State Senate
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