Albo: ABC liquor privatization group hasn't met for weeks
A legislative work group convened to help Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) come up with a new proposal to privatize state-run liquor stores hasn't met since early November and likely won't meet again until late this month.
Del. David Albo (R-Fairfax), who was tapped by House Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford) to sit on the group, said the panel last met around the time McDonnell hired a consultant to study the issue in early November.
Since then, the group has been waiting for McDonnell's staff to forward a new proposal for consideration. McDonnell has so far put forward two slightly different versions of a complex plan to privatize the state's wholesale and retail liquor distribution system.
McDonnell canceled plans for a special legislative session to consider the plan this fall after it was clear that legislators were opposed to the proposal, which McDonnell had said would raise a one-time infusion of about $458 million for transportation but acknowledged would bring in $47 million less each year for the state's general fund than the current system.
"I haven't looked at it, I haven't thought about it, I haven't cared about it since they came in with that $47 million hole," Albo said. "The work group is going to draft the legislation when they pick the concept a works. When they come to me with a concept that doesn't lose money, I know how to draft legislation."
McDonnell has said he plans to revamp his proposal and submit a bill for consideration to lawmakers on the first day of the legislative session in January. But Albo said the legislators haven't had any recent detailed conversations with the governor's staff about what that plan might look like.
He said the consultant's report might provide insight into how to come up with a financially feasible plan--including one in which the state retains its liquor wholesale business but privatizes retail stores. But, he said he was not optimistic.
"They may have been working hard on privatization," he said. "I haven't."
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said the governor has received a verbal report from the PFM group--hired last month for $76,900 to study ways the state might privatize the retail end of ABC. He said the company will submit a final written report in January and the company's findings won't be released publicly until then.
Rosalind S. Helderman
| December 8, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories: Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman
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