OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Lawmakers in Oklahoma passed a bill that increases the state's sales tax decal for vending and coin-op amusement equipment from $50 to $150. The price increase, included in the state's new budget agreement, would go into effect July 1, 2010, the start of Oklahoma's 2011 fiscal year.
Instead of paying taxes on total sales volume generated by machines, vending and amusement operators purchase a decal for each machine they place for an annual flat rate. Fees for operators have not increased since 1988. They apply to food and beverage machines, as well as jukeboxes and games.
Gov. Brad Henry, who worked with Republican legislative leaders and state treasurer Scott Meacham to draft the budget, is expected to sign the vending machine tax bill, designated HB 2359. The tax increase will bring in about $6 million a year, tax officials estimated, compared with $3 million under the current tax structure. Oklahoma is grappling with a $1.2 billion budget shortfall.
Vending and amusement operators interviewed by local media say that the 300% tax increase is going to hurt small business and ultimately consumers. In addition to raising prices, vending operators will probably need to remove machines from slow locations.
Ryan Brooks of the Oklahoma Amusement and Vending Association told a local TV station that "It's gonna decrease the number of machines on location and will decrease the number of jobs." See story here.