Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.12, December 2009, Posted On: 12/10/2009
VAMA Briefs Membership On Legislative Happenings In Virginia
by Staff Reporter
Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association, VAMA, Jeff Smith, lobbyist, Virginia Legislature, vending, vending operator, vending machine, vending business, vendor, automatic retailing, OCS, coffee service, foodservice, vending machine regulations
SANDSTON, VA -- Some 30 members of the Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association gathered in Sandston, VA, on Oct. 28 to get a legislative update from VAMA lobbyist Jeff Smith. He explained how Virginia legislators are rated in terms of their pro-business positions on legislation and how these rankings are instrumental in VAMA’s determination of the best use of PAC fund donations.
The lobbyist warned members that the current rate of unemployment in Virginia has placed an extraordinary strain on the available unemployment funds. Many Virginians are exhausting their eligibility but are still without employment, and Virginia is one of 22 states that have borrowed from the federal government to keep unemployment checks in the mail. Smith said that states will have until 2011 to start paying interest on their unemployment trust fund loans, and cautioned operators that doing so will be a stretch for most states unless they raise taxes on employers or decrease benefits to workers.
On a positive note, Smith pointed out that vendors continue to benefit from a sales tax based on wholesale, rather than retail, pricing. He informed members that the industry has kept a low profile on other food tax issues in the interest of maintaining the current sales tax structure for vended items.
VAMA’s lobbyist said he is closely watching a proposed federal tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks that aims to fund healthcare reform and combat obesity. A coalition of public health officials and advocacy groups is calling for the tax to be levied at a rate of 1¢ per fluid ounce.