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Free to Booze

Virginia could rake in $300 to $500 million from privatizing liquor stores.

2:55 PM, Jul 27, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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The Washington Post reports on Virginia governor Bob McDonnell's plan to privatize the state's liquor stores:

Gov. Bob McDonnell said Tuesday that he is pushing to privatize the state's 332 liquor stores because it can provide a "windfall" for Virginia's transportation needs.

"I want to ask for public support on that because ... licensing the stores will generate a lot of money that I can put right upfront into transportation maintenance,'' McDonnell said on his monthly call-in radio show on WTOP this morning.

McDonnell (R) is considering four ways to privatize the stores: selling all of the state's alcohol assets to a single company; having firms take over the state's existing stores; offering licenses to the businesses that sell beer and wine; and auctioning an undetermined number of licenses to the highest bidder.

The governor said today that the proposal could bring in $300 million to $500 million (though he and his staff have previously mentioned higher estimates) while continuing to bring in as much as $220 million a year which the state collects in taxes and profit.

Reason.tv produced a video in January on the problem of government-run liquor stores and the promise of free market reform:

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