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Posted at 2:57 PM ET, 01/31/2011

Tea party groups endorse liquor privatization

By Anita Kumar
Anita Kumar

The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation, the umbrella group of tea party organizations in the state, endorsed proposals Monday to privatize state liquor stores.

Mark Lloyd, the group's chairman, said the federation prefers privatizing the entire 76-year-old system, which includes wholesale, distribution and retail, but doesn't think such a broad proposal will pass the General Assembly this session.

The group supports both Gov. Bob McDonnell's proposal to privatize retail stores and a bill introduced by Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) to privatize the wholesale and retail portions of the system.

"Currently, ABC is in a conflicted position as a state agency that both regulates and competes with privately-owned businesses across the Commonwealth," said Mark Lloyd, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation. "It must be nice to have that competitive advantage in the marketplace. This policy will lead to more private sector jobs and higher revenues for the state government."

Lloyd said the federation will be contacting legislators to encourage support of the bills and will monitor their votes.

By Anita Kumar  | January 31, 2011; 2:57 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Liquor privatization, Robert F. McDonnell, State Senate  
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Comments

Hey, if the Tea Party wants to reduce the size of government, start with areas that are conspicuously bloated.

Why sell the state's revenue stream of 76 years for a one-time gain just in the name of "smaller government"? It doesn't make long term sense. I certainly don't walk into an ABC store and think, wow our government is too big. Thats just my opinion though.

Posted by: ahowl7mx | January 31, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely the tea party should endorse this.

There is no reason the state of Virginia should be in the liquor business. It's stupid.

The business of the state government is government - not liquor sales. Geez.

Posted by: Jaymand | January 31, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Mixing a free market with liquor would make quite the cocktail. Get educated at the Campaign for a Healthy Alcohol Marketplace website. See "Current Newsletter." Also, at MarinInstitute.org, see the press release "Control States Protect Public Health; New Research Shows Privatization of Alcohol Sales Results in More Alcohol-Related Deaths" which speaks of a new study in the journal Addiction.

The proposed legislation would triple the liquor outlets in our state. ...Hawk potent bottles of alcohol in supermarkets, pharmacies, etc. where families shop rather than exclusively in destination stores... More underage drinking. Greater consumption, greater harm, personal and secondhand. Not acceptable. Not Virginia.

More revenue? It's a gamble, and at what greater expense to taxpaying citizens in terms of the damage? More jobs? Yeah, for paramedics, cops, judges, social workers...

Posted by: anonymousid | February 1, 2011 12:42 AM | Report abuse

If the system was broken, then fine. But, it isn't broken and brings in a steady income for the state. Don't look a gift-horse in the mouth.

Posted by: jckdoors | February 1, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

the ABC stores WORK.
They provided a much needed source of revenue.
They help to keep liquor out of the hands of minors.
They are clean and orderly.
They do not bring the crime and loitering liquor stores in other areas have.
ABC stores are a perfect example of something the government does right.

Privatizing will bring profits to a few (mostly the big box stores like Walmart) while reducing state revenue which means taxes will have to be raised elsewhere.
It also means a greater threat to public safety from increased drunk driving and increased underaged drinking.

The original premise for privatizing promised a huge windfall of state revenue for road repair. Since that concept has been widely debunked as campaign gibberish, it's time to drop the privatizing issue.

Posted by: MarilynManson | February 1, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

If it ain’t broke, don't fix it.

The ABC stores have worked great for 76 years. My experiences in DC and other localities with privatized liquor stores have not been positive, there is a sleaze factor. Once there was a drunk outside drinking out of a paper bag, another time I overheard a person admitting that he was already intoxicated, but wanted to buy some more anyway, and this was at 5pm on a weekday on M. St., not a bad part of DC. The store employees also push and up-sell in DC, in VA the ABC store employees are unobtrusive and it is comfortable to browse without feeling that they want me to just get my purchase and get out of there. In CA, liquor was sold at the supermarket, and was considerably more expensive than it is here.

I had an experience in Florida once where I definitely felt unsafe even getting to and from my car and there were all sorts of characters hanging out there.

Also, our liquor stores have a terrific selection, including mini-bottles, many brands, etc. Big box stores, from what I understand happens in other states, are only going to carry the best selling items.

Also, recently I have enjoyed being able to get VA wine from the ABC store at reasonable prices.

Posted by: I_can_see_DCfrommyhouse | February 1, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"The Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation, the umbrella group of tea party organizations in the state, endorsed proposals Monday to privatize state liquor stores."

=====================

Big freaking whoop-de-doo. I don't endorse it. So what? Screw the tea party. What they endorse or don't endorse is immaterial to everyone. Besides, they are selling the commonwealth out on revenue streams in order to get a one time cash influx. Great thinking.

Posted by: fmamstyle | February 1, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

If the Tea Party says so, then they must be on to something. Their leader is Sarah Palin and they are always right.

Posted by: slydell | February 1, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Until they register as a real "party", I really couldn't care any less what the tea party folks endorse or don't endorse.
This idea is a sleazy corporate give-away.
If they want to fix the roads, maybe they need to look at streamlining the piss-poor bloated management at VDOT instead. Or the no-bid contracting. Bigger cost savings and doesn't sell a steady reliable revenue stream down the drain for a quick potential buck. You're still going to have to pay as much, and probably more, to regulate the quickly expanding liquor stores, I don't see any cost savings there at all - unless they plan to let them go unregulated - and wouldn't that be fun :-)

Can't wait to vote these yahoos back out of office, it's getting pretty embarrassing to be led by them.

Posted by: dcufan | February 2, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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