McDonnell to push revised ABC plan

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

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It may be the "last call" for Governor Bob McDonnell's idea to sell Virginia's liquor stores. Tonight, lawmakers say the governor is now pushing a "revised" plan, in hopes of getting it approved in the General Assembly.

In version number two of the divisive ABC issue, Virginia would still sell the retail side to private businesses. But now, lawmakers tell the Associated Press, the state would keep control of the wholesale, and distribution sides.

That means the state would sell to all kinds of private stores, which in turn, would sell to the public.

Currently, ABC makes hundreds of millions in profits. Selling it under the old plan left Virginia short about $47-million. The new plan would close the gap...and triple the number of places where Virginians could buy booze.

Critics wonder if that will create a situation like the one we saw last November, when we traveled to Lexington, Kentucky. Tracy Parker is a Lexington local, who walked us around the neighborhood where she grew up.

Tracy Parker: "See [it says] pharmacy, liquor department, one hour photo."
Andy Jenks: "In a Rite-aid, in a pharmacy, virtually, you'll find...liquor departments?"
Tracy Parker: "Yes. Liquor, yes, bourbon, rum, vodka."

Gov. McDonnell isn't commenting on the AP's information, but has said for months the goal is to raise half a billion dollars to fix roads. The journey was rocky in 2010. It appears there's a new path in 2011.

McDonnell is expected to formally introduce the revised ABC plan later this week. The General Assembly begins debate on that and other issues this Wednesday.

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