ALBANY, NY -- Both houses of the New York State Legislature have excluded Gov. Paterson's proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages from their budget resolutions, according to the New York State Automatic Vending Association.
However, the NY Legislative Gazette, a government-affairs website, said negotiations with the governor to hammer out a final 2010-'11 budget have yet to take place, and the measure cannot be considered dead until a final agreement is reached. See story here.
Industry and labor groups have campaigned hard to raise public awareness of the proposal, which would levy a 1¢-per-fl.oz. tax on drinks containing more than 10 calories per 8 fl.oz. and composed of less than 70% fruit juice. It would apply to soluble beverage mixes as well as ready-to-drink products.
A coalition called New Yorkers Against Unfair Taxes has been publicizing the issue, and has organized a petition drive. The group plans to present the petitions to state lawmakers on April 12.
The NYSAVA, a state council of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, and the New York State Conference of Teamsters held protests in the state capital, appealing to legislators to reject the proposed tax.
The Teamsters, rallying on March 23, chanted "no more taxes" and "save my job." International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president James P. Hoffa warned that the tax would hurt not only consumers but also small businesses, resulting in further job loss.
NYSAVA members hosted an event at the Legislative Office Building here on March 25, at which guests received samples of the snacks and cold drinks available through vending machines. Association president Mike Esposito, Prestige Services (Clifton Park, NY), spoke out against the tax plan, and called for continued protests until it is categorically rejected.
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) denounced the soda tax, recommending that more emphasis be placed on primary and preventive healthcare rather than on "picking people's pockets in an attempt to fight childhood obesity," according to the NY Legislative Gazette.
Despite high hopes that the proposed beverage tax will be defeated, New York operators are gearing up for a new battle. A bill (#9710) recently introduced by the Assembly seeks to repeal the industry's current 75¢ tax exemption and impose a tax on all vended items. Legislators estimate passage of the bill, slated to take effect June 1, would generate $17 million for the state this year.
NYSAVA's Esposito Organizes Silent Auction To Fund Association
CLIFTON PARK, NY -- New York State Automatic Vending Association president Mike Esposito is organizing a silent auction to raise money for the organization's PAC fund. Currently up for bid, exclusively to NYSAVA members, are several valuable products and pieces equipment donated by manufacturers.
Several cases of assorted Nestlé candy bars valued at $635 are up for grabs, with a starting bid of $400. MEI has donated a VN2700 validator and bill recycler; bids start at $500. An anonymous donor has supplied a Currenza coin mechanism, validator and bill recycler valued at $1,055, with a $700 starting bid. And bidding begins at $50 for two 5-lb. Hershey bars valued at $100. All bids must be emailed to Mike Esposito by April 15.
"Over the past few weeks, we have seen tremendous support from our members, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and brokers to support our fight, and now we need to band together again to fight this new issue which will destroy many of our members," Esposito said.
NYSAVA's next membership meeting will be held in conjunction with Betson's annual upstate New York exposition on Friday, April 16, at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona Register here.