No New Liquor Licenses in Virginia

Privatization is a magical idea, a way to shrink government without cutting services or raising taxes. But while there has been support for outsourcing the oversight of parks and tollbooths, one public monopoly hasn't folded: liquor sales. Eighteen states hedge against the ills of hard booze by retaining control over distribution. Now, in an unusual flurry of discussion, officials in five states are arguing for a reduced role.

But none is likely to have an easy time of it, as Virginia's Bob McDonnell learned recently. The GOP governor took office this year on a business-minded platform, promising to auction off 1,000 new liquor licenses and use the funds to fix crumbling roads. The move would triple the number of stores selling alcohol, however, a prospect that's set off a conservative-vs.-conservative feud: it's the small-government crowd (McDonnell and his partisans) against the clean-living crew (the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, among others)—and for now, the latter is winning. Last month, McDonnell shelved the idea until the next session.

No New Liquor Licenses in Virginia | U.S.