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Virginia Governor Leads Drive for Privatization of Liquor Distribution


Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell has spent months quietly trying to build consensus around a plan to shutter state liquor stores established after Prohibition and return the distribution of alcohol to private wholesalers and retailers, the Washington Post reported July 18.

The plan would likely mean far more places where residents could buy liquor in a state where beer and wine can already be purchased in supermarkets and various other retail outlets. New tax revenues arising from the transfer to private hands would be directed to fixing the state's transportation infrastructure.

McDonnell says he opposes government-run liquor stores based on free-market principals and is seeking bipartisan support for his plan, as well as backing from faith-based groups, the alcohol industry, and others. However, some religious conservatives and health experts oppose the plan because they fear a rise in drunk driving and other alcohol-related problems.

Various proposals could lead to the number of liquor retailers in the state rising from the current 322 state stores to up to 3,000. A detailed plan is expected to be released in August.

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