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Updated: Religious coalition forms to oppose McDonnell's ABC privatization plan

Anita Kumar

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?"

By Anita Kumar  |  September 13, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin asks how to fund transportation in Virginia. How about raising taxes on the wealthy, and the bankers?

Posted by: moiraeve1 | September 13, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

This group seems more interested in protecting a government monopoly than in addressing transportation needs or consumer service.

The governor's proposal would not only provide a large infusion of much-needed funds for transportation, but would also PRESERVE the long-term funding stream for state government. And just as importantly, it would mean more competition and better service for consumers across the state.

Beer and wine are sold privately in Virginia, and that works fine. Liquor is sold privately in most other states, and that also works well. Why continue to penalize Virginia consumers with a state-run monopoly, when we could have the benefits of a private competitive marketplace?

Posted by: jrmil | September 14, 2010 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, but Pat Robertson has not chimed in yet. I think he cares about his cut of the liquor profits more than the tragedy of alcoholism... Good job, McRobertson!

Posted by: free-donny | September 14, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

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