Earlier versions of this story, including in the print editions of The Washington Post, misstated the amount that Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell wants to spend on the state's roads. McDonnell (R) wants to spend $3.3 billion, not $3.3 million. This version has been corrected.
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McDonnell to unveil plan to replace state liquor stores
Republicans from both chambers joined McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) in support of amendments to the state constitution to protect property rights and guarantee that union elections are conducted by secret. They also talked up a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow federal laws to be repealed if two thirds of states agree.
The lawmakers laid out an agenda, dubbed "Smaller Government, Stronger Economy," that includes several proposals McDonnell has previously discussed - $54 million for economic development, a new way to fund colleges and universities and $3.3 billion for traffic-clogged roads.
Under McDonnell's liquor proposal, the state will continue to act as the wholesaler of liquor in Virginia, buying thousands of cases directly from distilleries and selling them at a profit to private retailers, who would then set prices for consumers.
Aides to the governor hope prices will fall because the state will cut the markup it applies to liquor prices from 69 percent to 50 percent.
The stores would be be sold off over an 18-month period that would start July 1.
McDonnell hired PFM, a national financial management company, at a cost of more than $75,000 to consider ways to privatize the state's stores without losing money after he did not have enough votes to hold a special session to take up the issue.
Licenses would be sold to the highest bidders and split among big-box stores, such as grocery stores and Wal-Mart; convenience stores and drugstores; package stores and wine stores; and small convenience stores.
A legislative study released in November showed McDonnell's original proposal may have overstated by tens of millions of dollars the amount of money Virginia could make from selling the entire system. His new figures came from PFM.