January 10, 2011
Lawmakers tell The Associated Press that Gov. Bob McDonnell wants liquor retailing put in private hands while the state would retain control of Virginia's wholesale business.
The governor will announce his revised liquor privatization plan later this week as part of his 2011 legislative package.
Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw and other legislators from both parties told the AP that McDonnell wants to end Virginia's 76-year liquor monopoly by putting state-owned Alcoholic Beverage Control stores in private hands.
"I do think it's a good idea for them to have the control to do it on their own," said Charlottesville resident April Martin.
"It could bring a lot more opportunity," added Aaron Watson.
McDonnell wanted Virginia out of the liquor business altogether. However, that plan did not pass the General Assembly last year. The revised plan keeps the state in charge of wholesale liquor distribution, which means that the government would continue to set the prices.
McDonnell wants to tax small businesses and put the money towards road improvements among other things. His proposal would also expand the number of retail liquor stores from the current 332 to 1,000 outlets.
"I think it means more revenue. I think people will buy and I think it's a good thing," said Martin
"More stores mean more jobs," added Watson.
Local delegate Rob Bell says he looks forward to seeing the details of McDonnell's proposal. Those could be released as early as Tuesday.