Here’s Senator Donald McEachin’s statement on the ABC privatization plan released today by Bob McDonnell. Enjoy – or more likely, not!
I appreciate the governor releasing his plan so that we will have the time and opportunity to study it. I have, however, some questions that I very much believe need to be addressed. The governor has said repeatedly that we cannot raise taxes, that tax increases are a job and economy killer. So, I would ask him, how and why, in these extremely perilous economic times, he would consider raising taxes on small business, the engine of job creation here in the Commonwealth and in the country. I would ask him to address how and why he would consider raising taxes on the backs of those mom and pop businesses that create 80% of the jobs which are so desperately needed in this economy.
Moreover, I am troubled by the idea of issuing 1,000 licenses. As we can well surmise, this number of licenses means there will be an inordinate number of stores selling hard liquor. These stores could end up across the street from a local high school, or next door to the ball fields or in other places where our underage youth will find uncommon temptation. I also fear that too many of these new stores will end up in low income neighborhoods, taking advantage of those who already struggle, those who are most vulnerable and those who can’t make ends meet. Those are the very individuals, suffering without jobs and without a secure future, who will find themselves turning to alcohol which could now be all too available on every block in their community.
I would hope these questions can be addressed as we move forward and as we all continue to study the governor’s proposal.