Reform Commission still endorses privatized ABC, 4-day work week

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Private liquor sales, and a four day work week. Just two of the major recommendations from a government reform panel. Late Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Bob McDonnell's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring endorsed a formal plan to change government and save your tax dollars.

The Commission made 133 recommendations. That's 26 more than were contained in October's interim report. But the top two remain the same, beginning with ABC.

The Commission still endorses a plan to sell Virginia's liquor monopoly, despite studies that say the plan won't generate the kind of money being promised.

Jim Babb speaks for the Virginia Beer and Wine Wholesalers Associations.

"To ditch it [ABC] for some untested and unproven assumptions is not good governance," Babb said.

The Commission is sticking to figures that say a privatized ABC will raise $500 million for transportation. But there is no mention of the perceived costs to other state services.

"The ABC system provides hundreds of millions of a dollars every year for vital state services like public education and law enforcement. Why would we want to give that up?" Babb said.

To make up the gap, there are many other recommendations such as a four-day, ten-hour-a-day work week. However, the Commission declined to specify which offices should use it. The four-day work week would exclude police, jails, and presumably the governor himself. The savings  would come from less overtime, and less consumption of utilities.

The Commission also recommended more access to teleworking, making high deductible health plans more attractive, and establishing an online "one stop shop" for handling state business, other than what is already do-able through the DMV.

In a statement, McDonnell said, "The Commission has done an exceptional job at looking through current processes and procedures within state government to come up with ways to make it more effective and efficient for the citizens of Virginia. In this tough economy, it is essential to find ways to save time and money."

The "recommendations" are just that. Many of the significant changes would likely require General Assembly approval. Lawmakers are back in session in January.

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