Updated: Religious coalition forms to oppose McDonnell's ABC privatization plan
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and the Baptist General Association of Virginia announced Monday that they have formed a coalition to oppose Gov. Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor system.
McDonnell wants to auction off 1,000 licenses to sell liquor. The plan would provide a one-time windfall of $458 million for transportation and recurring revenue of $229 million a year through a series of fees.
"The plan to dismantle a reliable profit center in exchange for a one-time cash infusion that is dwarfed by the size of the transportation problem will require Virginia to more than triple the number of outlets currently selling hard liquor in the state," said C. Douglas Smith, executive director of the Virginia Interfaith Center, a left-leaning group. "The plan is simply way out of touch with Virginia's values and risky for our communities."
The coalition has launched a Web site, which includes a petition.
"The very notion that tripling the number of liquor stores will lead to better, safer roads offends logic," said Jim White, editor of the Religious Herald, the news journal of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, which . "Whether you drink or not, the idea of encouraging more liquor sales so we can build roads does not support the quality of life that Virginia's families and communities cherish. And the funds projected from privatization certainly won't begin to address the transportation needs of our state.
"It's also financially risky."
Update: McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin weighed in: "The objections in this press release have been repeatedly proven incorrect. If these groups oppose gaining half a billion dollars for transportation without a tax increase, that's their prerogative. But they need to answer: how do they propose to fund transportation in Virginia?"
September 13, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell
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