ALBANY, NY -- New York State Automatic Vending Association president Mike Esposito is urging operators to contact their assembly representatives to build legislative support for a measure (A.5718) that would increase the sales tax exemption for vended food and beverages from the present 75¢ to $1.50. It is essential that this be done by Friday, June 10.
Specifically, New York vendors are asked to send their representatives a copy of a letter drafted by NYSAVA with the request that they read and endorse it, and then forward it to the chairman of the Assembly's Ways and Means Committee, Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, with a copy to that committee's counsel, Michael Johnson.
The letter to the committee chairman explains that the present exemption was written into law in 2000, when 75¢ vend prices were common. Today, other northeastern states (including Connecticut and Maine) have enacted similar exemptions for vended sales up to $3.50.
The purpose of the exemption is to help New York vending operations compete with over-the-counter sales, thus protecting jobs and giving consumers welcome relief from steadily increasing prices, and the convenience of continued vending service.
The vending industry in New York presently is in decline, NYSAVA explains, partly because of this disparity in pricing and partly because the state has not effectively enforced the law imposing a deposit on packaged beverages. The association estimates that this lapse has cost the New York industry 20% of its sales, lost to companies from surrounding states that do not have a similar law.
Large quantities of packaged beverages originating in non-deposit states are sold here, the association reported, resulting in the erosion of more than 5,000 jobs to date. If the state were to enforce its "bottle bill" and impose fines for violation, the increase in revenue would go far to offset the modest $1.5 million decrease in tax collection anticipated from raising the vending exemption.
Operators also can contact their state senators to request their support for the companion Senate bill (S.3445).
Lists of New York State Assembly and Senate members, with their contact information, may be found, respectively, at assembly.state.ny.us and at nysenate.gov. Both include a search routine for identifying one's particular elected official.
Information may be had from Esposito by calling (518) 877-7426, ext. 31 or (518) 265-0728 (cellular).