HAWTHORNE, NY -- The New York State Automatic Vending Association's top lobbyist said that despite Gov. David Paterson's attempts to keep his proposed soda tax in the 2011 budget, numerous senators and assemblymen, who have heard the case, have said that it is not going to pass. "But it's not dead until the final budget comes through," said Matt Tynan of Wladis Law Firm (De Witt, NY).
Tynan, a former New York State Trooper and seasoned government relations expert, met with NYSAVA members on June 9 here.
A second threat NYSAVA is closely monitoring and lobbying against is a proposal to end to the state's current 75¢ tax exemption for vended products. In addition to pushing for lawmakers to vote against the repeal, the vending association is seeking their support of an amended bill to raise the current 75¢ tax exemption to $1. It is being considered by the House Ways and Means committee and a Senate committee led by Sen. Craig Johnson (D-L.I.).
The lobbyist informed members that the current legislative session ends June 21. He emphasized the importance of the industry remaining vigilant by staying in front of lawmakers until a budget is passed, since elected officials have many difficult decisions to make in an election year.
On June 16, Tynan and NYSAVA officials met with Senate democratic majority conference leader John Sampson to again voice the industry's message that ending its tax exemption and imposing a penny-per-ounce soda tax would cost jobs. The lobbyist has also scheduled meetings with assemblyman Denny Farrel (D-NYC), chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Dave Valesky (D-Oneida), among other Albany officials.
NYSAVA president Mike Esposito, Prestige Services (Clifton Park, NY), announced that the association has formed alliances with the Teamsters and Vietnam Veterans Association, and said the united effort has helped the three organizations get in front of key Senate and Assembly leaders in force to voice their common goal: to save jobs.
Esposito said that the vending association supported New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's efforts in his run for governor, and has had positive feedback from him regarding its concerns about the soda tax and vending tax exemption.
The NYSAVA president urged New York operators to do their part by joining its meetings in the state Capitol and reaching out to their local legislators. "We're starting to be noticed in Albany. We need bodies there if you can join us," he said. "And we all have local assemblymen and senators. Go in and plead your case."
Esposito added that members have made substantial contributions to the association's PAC fund and asked those who haven't already done so to lend their financial support to help fund the association's lobbying efforts at this critical juncture.
The association will hold its annual dinner and golf outing, which benefits its PAC fund, on Sept. 1 at the Pelham Bay Split Rock Golf Course (Bronx, NY). Information and registration forms are available at nysava.org.