RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The General Assembly shelved plans to privatize the state's ABC stores and that could impact Governor Bob McDonnell's plans to fund his transportation plan.
McDonnell is dealing with a huge budget shortfall and has said his focus is on helping to improve the state's economy. Transportation, which was a major campaign issue, will come later. With that in mind, the delegate carrying the legislation that would have started the process to privatize the ABC stores backed away.
There are a lot of unknowns about the impact that privatizing ABC stores would have. McDonnell believes the effort could bring as much as $500 million to the state. VCU Business Professor David Urban believes the potential is there.
"It would probably energize the business community in a couple of different ways. One is we would have more private businesses out there, because all those liquor stores would be private entities," said Urban.
But there are many different interests opposed to the idea, which could be part of the push back. Convenience store owners, and anti-alcohol advocates are concerned about the increase in these types of private businesses. Their opposition, along with the complex nature of the topic made it difficult to push through during this session.
But that doesn't mean it is dead. The governor and his team plan could tackle ABC stores and transportation, during a special session this fall.