A big day for McDonnell’s ABC privitization push
Despite conventional wisdom among Capitol insiders that Governor Bob McDonnell‘s ABC privatization plan is in trouble, the end of the week brought with it a series of developments that indicate the Governor has no plans of giving up the fight quite yet.
First, Thursday McDonnell’s proposal sailed through a subcommittee of his commission on government reform and restructuring. While the commission was designed, in part to give the ABC plan a green light, the negotiation process was bumpy and forced a series of changes before being passed. The plan will now come before the full bi-partisan commission on Monday.
Then this morning (Friday), The lobbying firm Capital Results (which is working with private interests to pass privatization) released a poll which shows that Virginians favor the idea by wide margins (57% for to 37% against). The poll was paid for by “Opportunity Virginia” (The Governor’s PAC) and conducted by Frederick Polls and Public Opinion Strategies, a group that Cap Results was quick to point out has done work for Republicans and Democrats.
Finally this afternoon former Governor and Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder formally endorsed the McDonnell plan. In a statement released by the McDonnell Administration, Wilder wrote “(The plan) keeps significant ongoing revenue for the General Fund and I am confident his Commission on Government Reform will produce additional cost savings measures that will more than offset any difference. ”
Wilder supported the concept of ABC privatization while serving as the chair of Mark Warner‘s government reform commission, but up until today had offered mixed signals on his feeling of the McDonnell plan. Wilder is of course of Democrat, but has not been shy about his support for McDonnell.
To be clear neither of these two developments have a direct connection to the votes McDonnell needs in the General Assembly to pass his plan. The poll will probably be dismissed by opponents as being partisan, and Wilder, for all his flair, doesn’t have the sway with the Democratic Senate that he once did.
What these two developments mean is the despite resistance from his legislative colleagues, McDonnell has no plans of giving up the fight. The ABC vote may not come in a special session this fall, but make no mistake it will come. Forcing those not all that interested in moving the Governor’s agenda forward to be counted.
Governor Wilder’s full statement can be found after the jump:
Statement of Doug Wilder on ABC Privatization
Former Virginia Governor and Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder Endorses ABC Privatization Plan
RICHMOND– Former Virginia Governor and Mayor of the City of Richmond L. Douglas Wilder today released the following statement endorsing Governor Bob McDonnell’s plan to privatize ABC.
“The final report on the Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness, December 2002, made many recommendations. Among them was one relative to the privatizing of ABC retail operation. I was privileged to Chair that commission comprised of wide, varied and diverse citizens. The composition of the commission also was bi-partisan and represented all segments of our state’s population.
I endorsed the recommendation then and I do so now.
The proposed plan offered by Governor McDonnell keeps significant ongoing revenue for the General Fund and I am confident his Commission on Government Reform will produce additional cost savings measures that will more than offset any difference. I also think that there should be no consideration of any increased taxes for the consumer. The threshold question that triggers the debate is whether the state should be in the liquor selling business anyway. I think that government has sufficient legitimate calls made upon it to provide for the safety, health and welfare of its citizens.”