VACostCutting

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bottoms Up

Where to look for cost savings in the Virginia budget? How about the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control? According to the Virginia Piglet Book:

The Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control operates approximately 300 retail liquor stores throughout the Commonwealth and is one of only 18 states that does not permit the private retail sale of alcoholic beverages within its borders. By getting out of the business of running its own retail establishments and opening the market up to private retailers, it has been estimated by the Wilder Commission and the Commonwealth Competition Council that taxpayers could realize savings of up to $700 million annually without giving up any of Virginia’s enforcement powers over alcoholic beverages and without sacrificing any revenues from licensing fees and violations.

Now that's a lot of money. But is it realistic to assume Virginia will get out of the business of selling liquor? Perhaps not in the near term. But if the Legislature is serious about streamlining government operations, and handing over responsibility -- where possible -- to the private sector, then this is an obvious place to start.

3 Comments:

  • I have often wondered how we continue to justify the Commonwealth being involved in wholesale/retail operations for an item that the government may have business regulating, but definitely has no business selling. Numbers aside, this is a pure principles issue. The Commonwealth has no more business selling alcohol than it does opening up a chain of gas stations.

    By Blogger Poli Amateur, at 1/16/2006 8:06 PM  

  • The problem is, the wholesalers are content with their protected monopoly -- until the Beer and Wine Wholesalers get behind it, it won't go anywhere.

    By Blogger gfsegal, at 1/16/2006 10:05 PM  

  • I've always wondered: do state legislators get an "employees' discount" at Virginia ABC stores? If so, it would explain a lot.

    By Blogger James Young, at 1/17/2006 10:51 AM  

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