Thursday, September 09, 2010

That'll Teach Me

Remember that wonderful bumper sticker from the Reagan era? The one that says "I Don't Believe The Post"?

Should've known better. Yesterday, I posted a discussion of a WaPo article which said that the Governor's plan to privatize liquor sales in the Commonwealth (a good idea) included a tax increase (a bad idea).

And I shouldn't have believed The Post.

Turns out one of the people who reads this blog (God bless him! Nice to know somebody is listening) is Governor McDonnell's spokesman, Tucker Martin, and last night, Tucker sent me this e-mail (emphasis added):
I wanted to shoot these facts over to you, the article in the Washington Post this morning was incorrect. Hope this helps clear it all up.
* There is no 4% tax increase as part of the staff ABC privatization recommendation
* Newspaper reports that say this are incorrect
* Specifically, there is no 1.5% fee on all outlets that sell alcohol
* Under the staff recommendation all restaurants and hotels will have the option of paying an additional 2.5% "Restaurant Convenience Fee" that would allow them to buy discounted distilled spirits directly from private wholesalers and receive on-site delivery
* Buying direct from private wholesalers will save restaurants money, and on-premise delivery will add convenience
* But it is optional
* If they choose not to participate they will buy and pick-up direct from private retailers, just like they currently do with ABC stores
* Because of the benefits that restaurants would gain from dealing directly with private wholesalers we anticipate the overwhelming majority would choose to participate in the 2.5% "Restaurant Convenience Fee"
* The staff privatization plan keeps ongoing revenue to the state equivalent to what is received in the current monopoly set up
* The state is projected to bring in $324.2 million in FY 2011 from alcohol sales
* After privatization, under the staff recommendation plan, the state will bring in $301.8 million
* That is a slight difference of only 6.9%
* In the context of a $37.9 billion annual budget this is a difference of .059%
* Additional government reforms proposed by the Administration will easily fill that gap
* This ABC privatization plan keeps ongoing revenue to the General Fund equivalent to the current monopoly system
* It does not contain a tax increase, newspaper reports stating this were incorrect
* It will produce $500 million for transportation while eliminating an outdated government monopoly

J. Tucker Martin
Director of Communications
I hate to get things wrong, and unlike a newspaper "Corrections" section, I want to give this correction at least as prominent a place as the erroneous information posted here.

So, apologies, Governor. Mea culpa. And I really should have known better.

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