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Updated: Dem leader calls McDonnell liquor privatization study a waste of money

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

House Democratic Leader Ward Armstrong on Friday criticized Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) for "wasting taxpayers dollars" to hire a national financial management company to consider ways privatize the state's 332 retail stores.

"At a time when people across the state are looking for leadership on jobs, education, transportation and a host of other issues, Governor McDonnell appears to be spending valuable time, and now valuable money, trying to resurrect a political priority that will not benefit the people of Virginia in any way,'' Armstrong said.

The PFM Group began work last week. The company estimates its cost to be $76,900.

Under proposals to privatize or partially privatize retail stores, the state would remain the wholesaler of distilled spirits and continue to apply markup and excise tax at the wholesale level. Current applicable state and local taxes on gross receipts and income apply, according to the company's contract.

Updated, 6:30 p.m. McDonnell's office responds: "Two partisan press releases in four days from Mr. Armstrong,'' McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said. "Both are late on the news, wrong on the facts and full of hyperbole. We know Mr. Armstrong desperately wants to run statewide. Apparently suffering through these inane press releases is the price we will all have to pay for his ambition."

McDonnell unveiled a plan in September calling for the complete privatization of all aspects of the state system, which would produce a one-time windfall of at least $458 million for transportation. But he faces considerable opposition in both the Democratic-led Senate and GOP-controlled House of Delegates in part because the plan would bring in $47 million less each year to the state.

He abandoned plans to hold a special legislative session on the proposal this month after failing to garner enough votes, but will pursue it when lawmakers return to Richmond for their regular session in January. The 46-day legislative session begins Jan. 12.

"After nearly a year, I urge Governor McDonnell to introduce a sustainable and comprehensive plan for transportation,'' Armstrong said. "If he is unwilling to do that, I hope he will at least refrain from wasting taxpayer dollars."

McDonnell's office did not immediately return a request for comment.

By Anita Kumar  | November 12, 2010; 5:28 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, House of Delegates, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell  
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Next: Republicans will select nominees for legislative elections Nov. 23


Kumar focuses her leftist hack bias on the Swiss watch that is Virginia's Republican led government, meanwhile Jack Johnson (D) is being led out of his house in cuffs. I'll be darned..

Posted by: wewintheylose | November 13, 2010 6:57 AM | Report abuse

"Full of hyperbole?" "Wrong on the facts?" Hmmm. See "Fiction Over Facts: Virginia Governor's Postulations on Privatization" -- the Aug. 22 2010 entry on the blog for the Marin Institute (an alcohol industry watchdog organization). There's also a pertinent blog entry from Sept. 6, and useful fact sheets under the resource section, regulatory. See

The governor has been listening too long to the alcohol and big retail lobbyists. The ABC store system works very well for the people and families of Virginia, bringing in reliable, impressive state revenue, working to foster moderate drinking, and denying hard liquor to the underage.

Posted by: anonymousid | November 13, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

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