"You don't want the state selling liquor, but it's OK to loan money to people who do? This gets nuttier by the minute. It's absurd." - Virginia Senator Saslaw
Looks like there's another ABC privitization strawman going out today. McDonnell likes to tout that he worked for a Fortune 500 company. So do people who do janitorial work at Exxon's headquarters. But they wouldn't be forgiven for leaving trash like these proposals around.
With Big Alcohol seeking to increase profit margins, across the U.S. powerful corporations and misguided politicians are promoting plans to eliminate state control of alcohol sales, promising better prices and selection in return for less alcohol regulation. As states become more desperate for revenue, a booming alcohol business could overshadow the protection of public health and economic stability.Here in Virginia, according to the report, McDonnell's plan would cause "spirits sales" to increase 21 percent, while "total alcohol consumption would increase as much as 7 percent." This will "cause an estimated $50 million per year in harm paid from state coffers (mostly criminal justice costs), and $1 billion per year in total harm costs." Privatization also "will decrease annual state alcohol revenue by $200-$300 million," lead to a tripling - from 332 to 1,000 - in "the number of stores selling spirits," and even lead to "220 more alcohol-related deaths...each year."
In other words, this is an absolutely horrendous idea on just about all counts. But wait, you ask, if it's such a horrible idea, why would Bob McDonnell go this route? Other than being "misguided" and "desperate for revenue," perhaps the fact that "McDonnell received $448,407 from Big Alcohol, including Anheuser-Busch, InBev, Diageo, and Associated Distributors," between 2008 and 2010, might help explain it? But wait, there's more:
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.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.
"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."