It looks like, barring a miracle, Governor Bob McDonnell’s plan to privatize the state’s liquor stores will not survive the 2011 Virginia General Assembly session.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that the chairman of the House General Laws committee, Del. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) will use his Chairman’s privilege to prevent the bill from being heard. The move effectively kills the bill in the 2011 session. Senate leaders have said that they won’t take the bill up until it passes the House. Governor McDonnell could send down new legislation at any point in the session to reignite the debate, but given the signals sent today by House leadership that seems unlikely.
Unfortunately, according to Del. Bob Brink (D-Arlington) and others, this poorly-thought-out, revenue-losing, liquor-store-loving plan “will be back again.” Look, I have no philosophical problem with government getting out of the liquor business, but Bob McDonnell’s plan is a debacle. As Creigh Deeds said, it’s a “ludicrous” plan that “insults the intelligence of Virginians.” Among other problems, Deeds points out, the plan “produce[s] a one-time windfall of $458 million for transportation but a $47 million annual loss to the state’s general fund.” Ah, gotta love that Republican economics – not to mention Republican math! Heh.