Sen. McEachin Statement on McDonnell ABC Privatization Plan

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    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.

    • VADEM

      me but historically aren’t the rethugs the ones who NEVER want to raise taxes, who always want tax CUTS?

      This stands at zero chance of passing. Zero, zip, nada for all the good reasons the senator mentioned. Like we need 1000 places selling liquor. This is perhaps one of the most stupid proposals I’ve seen raised in the VA legislature.

      Oh and how many ABC agents will have to be hired to enforce proper sales at 1000 places? Wonder if anyone thought about that yet?

    • We government must protect us from the evils of booze? That’s our argument? Really, really weak.

    • Goldmanusa

            As the Governor’s team admitted today, his plan produces roughly $15 million less than promised in terms of annual budget revenue. Politically, it is a curious failure, since many members of the GA, in both parties, said any such failure made the plan DOA. “Close enough for government work” is apparently the Governor’s response, as his team’s handout at the hearing today proudly said the McDonnell plan produced “94%” of the money promised.

             This suggests there was either the discovery of a last minute mistake, some need to make a quick change irrespective of the math, or a feeling on the McDonnell side that, to paraphrase Meatloaf, “9 out 10 ain’t bad.”

              Why? Because it defies logic for the Governor to have laid out a marker and then not make it unless something happened at the last minute. But it further suggests the “94%” number is on thin ice, stretched as far it could go before becoming too laughable to defend.

              By and large, this is a plan of, by, and for, the big liquor players, the kind of approach McDonnell would be the first to denounce if a Democratic Governor had proposed it.

              However, like it or not, if it gets any traction in terms of being mathematically defensible, Democrats may take a big risk by just killing it in the State Senate without offering an alternative on transportation.

              But in this climate, such a comprehensive plan has great political risks no matter the correctness of the subject matter.

              All in all, putting the McDonnell plan to a vote of the people may net-out as the best for Virginia and Democrats, it surely would mean all interested citizens would learn some truths about whose side Republicans are really, which happens to be the special interests, not the people.  

    • libra

      stores are less likely to be able to enforce the age-limit on alcohol buying than the larger stores are. Perhaps Bobby McD is counting on fines as well as fees for his plan?

    • Rick_Sincere

      Senator McEachin calls 1,000 licenses an “inordinate number of stores.”

      Setting aside that 1,000 is a rather precise number (not an indeterminate one, which is what “inordinate” actually means), in fact, even at 1,000 outlets selling liquor, Virginia will still be well below the national average of stores per capita.

      The paternalism in McEachin’s comments can be addressed on another day.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      Let me add two points to the discussion, forgetting any moral arguments, which for some reason the “family values” Republicans want to ridicule:

      1. The retail portion of this boondoggle is not where the oligopoly and the mess will occur. It’s on the wholesale level. That’s where the $350,000 in campaign funds for McDonnell came from – the big beer and wine distributors, who are lusting for the market that they already have divided up by geography.

      2. McDonnell says that he will add 25% more ABC enforcement agents. Paid for by what? Plus, he considers $20 million (a low ball figure) in funds that won’t flow to the General Fund “insignificant.” Huh?

      The arithmetic does not add up. Welcome to Gilmore “no car tax” Part Two…

      • Dan Sullivan

        make as much sense as the out of context arguments Team McDonnell has provided for this plan. From jump street, I have clearly allowed that I will support any plan that generates the same or better revenue stream the current system provides the state. Even the optimistic 94% does not meet that standard.

        Their philosophic heroine Ayn Rand said that if something makes no sense, check your assumptions. There is something other than economic principle driving this initiative. I’d bet it’s economic and it’s not very principled. There is something rotten in Richmond.