ABC Proposal Clears Sub-Committee
Governor McDonnell’s proposal for ABC privatization passed through sub-committee of a gubernatorial panel yesterday, though his administration is distancing itself from a commitment to a special legislative session on the issue. Craig Carper reports.
As initially proposed, the Governor’s privatization plan would fall roughly 22 million dollars short of the 330 million the state’s liquor stores currently generate on an annual basis from store profits and taxes. This proposal was amended yesterday to eliminate certain proposed taxes, which will open an additional 20 million-dollar gap.
The plan passed on a vote of 5-1. The one no vote came from Democratic Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, who feels that the loss of funds are unacceptable.
Whipple: In addition, because the Governor’s numbers rely on increased sales of liquor, if those don’t materialize, there could be up to a 30 million-dollar additional hole, so it could be as high as seventy.
Governor McDonnell has been a fervent supporter of privatization since his campaign last year, though the Democratic majority in the Senate opposes it and members of his own party in the Republican-controlled House have expressed fiscal and social concerns.
Eric Finkbeiner, the Governor’s Senior Policy Advisor, says McDonnell is still working toward a special legislative session on government reform in mid-November, but that he will not call the legislature back unless he is sure he has the votes to pass the privatization plan.
Finkbeiner: Once we get to the point where we actually draft legislation and talk to people, then that’s a determination we’ll have to make. You have to remember right now we’ve had a proposed staff recommendation to the Governor’s commission, so there’s really nothing to be voted on at this point.
The privatization plan will be presented for a vote at the next full meeting of the Commission on Government Reform on Monday.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square