Southside Gives McDonnell’s Liquor Privatization Plan “Thumbs Down”

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    Add Southside Virginia to Virginia religious leaders in opposition to Bob McDonnell’s cockamamie, misguided “plan” (if we can even call it that) to let the liquor industry run wild in Virginia.

    Two Southside Republican delegates, James Edmunds of Halifax and Tommy Wright of Lunenburg, said this week they are leaning strongly towards voting against the ABC privatization plan.

    “If we were voting [for the state] to go into the liquor business, I’d vote against it,” said Del. Edmunds. “But now that we’re in it, I don’t see where [privatization] would be of any benefit to our rural district.”

    Based on his own and his constituents’ concerns about the social consequences of what he believes would be the wider availability of alcohol in communities, Del. Wright also said he would have to vote against McDonnell’s proposal.

    “The only way for the plan to work is to increase the number of stores,” Wright said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of outlets tripled. And the more availability there is, the more consumption there would be. As a rule there are some costs to society of problems that alcohol does bring.

    Exactly right. The question is, did Bob McDonnell and his advisors think about any of this over the past year or so, when they started touting this “plan?”  Did they talk to anyone about it?  If so, did they just ignore everyone and everything? Or, is this simply the gang that can’t shoot straight on anything?  Lame.

    • Elaine in Roanoke

      I’m willing to bet that what Bob McDonnell and his sidekicks  were thinking about was the $350,000 they pulled in from beer and wine wholesalers in the state. The mother lode of the whole “privatization” plan (i.e., creation of an instant oligopoly) is the wholesale end of the business, including a state-of-the-art warehouse that Virginia has in the Richmond area worth tens of millions.

      Isn’t it funny how the “religious right” loses its principles when it hears the ring of a cash register?

      I’m a Matthew 25 Christian

    • VaPolitico

      I just can’t stick with the “more stores will lead to more consumption” argument.  I’m sure there are probably a few people who want to buy liquor but simply can’t because they can’t get to the store.  There may even be people who want booze but think, “nah, the store is too far away.”  But I seriously doubt that there are people who, until now, didn’t think twice about buying liquor, but as soon as there’s a store just down the block…

      There are reasons this is a bad idea.  Arguing more stores = more drunks/problems/drunk drivers/drinking is a fallacy.  According to Del. Wright, all I need to do to sell more of something is to make more stores.  At some point everyone will have all the access to all the booze they need and more stores won’t change the level of consumption at all.  I happen to think that we’ve practically reached that level with ABC stores.  People aren’t going to open new, successful liquor stores when there are already 32 in the same area.  It’s just simple economics.  There’s only so much demand for booze, and increasing the supply doesn’t increase a thing.  

      Finally (hooray!), I’m uncomfortable with the idea that our elected officials don’t want to build more stores because more people will be able to (legally) drink.  To me, that says they are okay individuals who want to participate in a completely legal activity being unable to because of a lack of ability to get to a store close by.