Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bad Idea, Governor

Once again, an otherwise talented and attractive Republican officeholder proves the verity of Evans' (as in "M. Stanton") Law: "When our friends are in a position to be useful, they're no longer our friends."

Today's news provides word that the Governor is briefing legislators on his plan to privatize Virginia's liquor stores. Of course, Virginia is one of only eighteen states in the Union in which the state maintains a monopoly on the sale of the "demon rum."

Now I agree with the Governor: the Commonwealth shouldn't be in the business of selling liquor. For that matter, it shouldn't be in the business of any kind of business. For that matter, it should probably get out of the education business, too.

But never mind all that. It seems that the Governor's plan is meeting some resistance, largely from Democrat legislators and Senate Repubmocrats. Sooooo, what does the Governor propose? To placate his Democrat critics --- as well as those Republicans who foolishly support higher taxes --- by proposing a new bar and restaurant tax.

Now, I suppose that it would be just to tax alcoholic beverages consumed in bars and restaurants to make the sale of the Commonwealth liquor monopoly "revenue neutral." But is it just and fair to increase taxes (apparently, by 1.5%) on those who eat at McDonald's --- a practice which carries with it its own costs --- which does not serve alcohol? Or to increase taxes those who eat out at family restaurants but do not buy alcoholic beverages?

Sorry, Governor: ABC privatization is a good idea. But using it as a stalking horse for raising taxes generally should be a non-starter.

There's something --- oh, I don't know --- so Democrat about it.

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