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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 6, June 2011, Posted On: 5/14/2011

Florida Operators Defeat Bottled Water Tax

Emily Jed
Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida, bottle bill, bottled water, bottled water news, beverage news, vending, vending machine, vending news, vending route, vending business, Florida bottled water tax, Florida Senate Bill 78, Evelyn Lynn

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- Florida operators are celebrating a victory after a bill that would have added a 6% sales tax to bottled water died in the state Senate.

In March, the National Automatic Merchandising Association and the Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida, a NAMA state council, lobbied heavily in support of the industry and called on operators to voice their opposition to Senate Bill 78 to their elected officials. Introduced by state Sen. Evelyn Lynn (R-Ormond Beach), the proposed legislation would have imposed a 6% sales tax on bottled water in containers of less than one gallon.

NAMA reported that Florida operators sent nearly 300 emails to their state senators and representatives, and credited their efforts with helping defeat the bill's passage. Their message to the legislators was that the bill would add a 7.5¢ tax on $1.25 bottle of water. Since vending operators can't raise their prices in penny and half-cent increments, industry members emphasized, they would not be able to pass the increase along to their customers, placing an unfair burden on their bottom lines.

"Again, a united effort has defeated a bottled water tax in Florida," said NAMA senior manager of government affairs Mary Lou Monaghan in a letter to members. "Thank you to everyone that contacted their representatives. This emphasizes how important it is that we all work together."

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