First, Former Gov. Doug Wilder (Democrat) came out in support of the plan by with the following statement:
“The final report on the Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness, December 2002, made many recommendations. Among them was one relative to the privatizing of ABC retail operation. I was privileged to Chair that commission comprised of wide, varied and diverse citizens. The composition of the commission also was bi-partisan and represented all segments of our state’s population.
"I endorsed the recommendation then and I do so now.
"The proposed plan offered by Governor McDonnell keeps significant ongoing revenue for the General Fund and I am confident his Commission on Government Reform will produce additional cost savings measures that will more than offset any difference. I also think that there should be no consideration of any increased taxes for the consumer. The threshold question that triggers the debate is whether the state should be in the liquor selling business anyway. I think that government has sufficient legitimate calls made upon it to provide for the safety, health and welfare of its citizens.”
Additionally, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported on a poll released to by a retail coalition showing strong support among Virginia for privatization.
The poll, conducted last weekend for a coalition led by big retailers, shows 57 percent of Virginians supporting the effort by Gov. Bob McDonnell to get the Department of Alcoholic Beverages out of the wholesale and retail liquor business. A third of the voters surveyed said they strongly favor privatization, the poll asserts.
In contrast, the poll said 35 percent of voters oppose privatization, including about 20 percent strongly.
Bottom line is, I agree with Former Gov. Wilder and Gov. McDonnell, the real question here is "whether state should be in the liquor selling business". My answer: NO!