Updated: McDonnell's ABC plan receives support of one retail group
Score another one for Bob McDonnell.
Virginia's governor officially received the backing of the Virginia Retail Merchants Association for his plan to privatize the state's liquor system hours after he got the same from Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.
The news wasn't exactly surprising. The group has supported privatization for years, but it was still welcome news for McDonnell, whose proposal has received a somewhat cool reception this week.
"VRMA believes that the retail sale of all products is best served by the private sector, which will allow the government to focus on other core services,'' the group said in a statement. "It is clear that the government sale of alcohol is a decades-old policy that needs to change...We also support the dedication of up-front revenue to transportation. While this initiative is only one piece of a long-term solution to transportation funding, we should not turn our backs on $500 million in revenue that can help relieve congestion across the Commonwealth."
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 association represents more than 5,400 retailers and other businesses throughout the state. Still considering the proposal is the Virginia Retail Federation, which represents more than 3,000 small and medium sized businesses. That group expects to have a statement next week after hearing from its membership.
Updated:: "In principle, we have consistently expressed support for privatizing ABC operations, however, we believe the Governor's plan, in its present form, does not provide adequate opportunities for smaller, independent retailers to fully participate," said Susan Milhoan, a spokeswoman for the Federation. "It is our hope that Governor McDonnell and his staff will be receptive to modifications to the plan that will benefit all Virginians."
September 10, 2010; 2:15 PM ET
Categories: Anita Kumar , Liquor privatization , Robert F. McDonnell
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