Bob McDonnell is a self-professed pinot grigio and white zinfandel drinker.
He's also the new Republican governor of Virginia and is taking aim at the commonwealth's oppressive and inefficient state-owned liquor monopoly. More than a dozen states still completely control the sales and distribution of all distilled spirits.
The result? Higher payrolls for state governments (state-workers are public-sector employees after all) and rotten selection and service for customers (state-sanctioned monopolies tend to diminish the shopping experience).
Despite a reputation as a social conservative, McDonnell thinks that state-run liquor stores are a bad idea from both pragmatic and philosophical perspectives. Given budget crises, says McDonnell, "we can't just do things the same old way…. Certainly there's nothing I gleaned from the [Virginia] constitution that would have me think it's better or required to have the government controlling distilled spirits."
States such as West Virginia and Iowa have gained millions of dollars in new tax and license revenues by privatizing liquor sales, says Reason Foundation policy analyst Len Gilroy. And they've also cut government expenditures by millions of dollars as well.
Will Virginia join them? McDonnell invited Reason.tv to come back in a year and check in with him. Sure thing, Mr. Governor. We'll bring the questions. You can bring the white zinfandel.
Approximately 4.30 minutes. Written and produced by Meredith Bragg and Nick Gillespie, who also hosts. Additional footage: Dan Hayes.
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