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Top vending government affairs victories in 2010
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During 2010, we've faced very tough economic times and extra pressures from local, state and federal government attention on our industry. As we look back on the year, it's been difficult but not all bad. Thanks to the NAMA memberships' leadership and support, the vending, coffee and food service industry has had some successes. Your bi-partisan NAMA legislative team can't claim exclusive credit for all these victories. In many instances we served as coalition partners in these successes. But not a bad year, considering the legislative threats we have been facing.


    1. Federal sugar tax defeated
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When Congress began to debate how to pay for new federal health care reform, a main proposal was a new $10 billion federal excise tax on sugar sweetened beverages. A broad coalition chaired by the American Beverage Association effectively educated Congress and the public about how taxing a simple pleasure would kill jobs. Taxing food isn't the solution to runaway government spending.


    2. State/local sugar taxes defeated
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As you can imagine, if Congress wants to tax food, then state and local governments are sure to follow. Thanks to strong grassroots efforts and personal involvement by NAMA members, we helped stop millions in new taxes from California to New York to Philadelphia.


    3. Washington state candy tax repeal
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The Washington state legislature passed a tax on food and beverages which had a price tag of $300 million over 3 years. The voters in Washington recognized the inequity of raising a tax on food in this economy and passed a state-wide referendum repealing that tax. Thanks to NAMA and Northwest Automatic Merchandising Association members for being proactively engaged in this statewide repeal effort.


    4. Bonus depreciation
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Congress passed a massive tax relief bill in the closing days of December. As part of the legislation, they temporarily extended bonus depreciation, creating an unlimited bonus depreciation rule for the cost of equipment and machinery bought and placed in service after Sept. 8, 2010 (and before Jan. 1, 2012). The bonus depreciation applies not only to equipment and machinery, but also to off-the-shelf software and qualified leasehold, restaurant and retail improvements. However, there continues to be a dollar limit on the purchase of cars, light trucks and vans used for business.


    5. Federal tax breaks (R&D, WOTC, food donations, payroll tax holiday)
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Talk to your accountant first, but the $858 billion tax package extended the 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent and 35 percent personal income tax brackets through 2012. The bill extends increases in the maximum amount and phase-out threshold under section 179. It created a temporary payroll tax holiday, reducing the Social Security tax on all wages by 2 percent. The measure reinstates the Business Research and Development tax credit for 2 years (through 2011), and extends enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory. And last, but not least, it extended the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). More

    6. Florida bottled water bill
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In 2010, the Florida Department of Revenue considered taxing bottled water sold in vending machines — a new tax. The regulatory tax increase was stopped.


    7. Flexibility on calorie disclosure
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Congress is requiring the federal administration to write rules related to calorie disclosure in vending. NAMA has a seat at the table as these rules are being written. We are leading a coalition on this issue. And NAMA succeeded in having 2 key members of Congress send a letter to the Secretary of HHS noting that the intent of Congress was for the vending industry to have flexibility in how we disclose and to give protection for inadvertent human error in any vending labeling. We have many months of battle ahead as this very expensive labeling requirement is formulated and enacted. But at this point in the process, NAMA is having successes.


    8. School nutrition doesn't ban vending
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When Congress passed legislation this year regulating nutritional content of foods sold in schools, they could have removed vending machines from schools. With grassroots support and lobbying members of Congress, machines weren't banned and we will soon have a national standard for products.


    9. No regulations on vending in government facilities
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The Obama administration is focused on obesity and as part of that attention is considering regulating food sold in vending on government property. NAMA's relationships and outreach has provided valuable insights and assistance to federal employees as they draft potential vending regulations. We don't know today what regulations or restrictions might eventually be released, but the current draft regulations we’ve seen are much better than originally suggested.


   10. Coin and currency legislation
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Congress passed and President Obama signed into law H.R. 6162 which allows the Secretary of the Treasury to research and develop alternative coinage material and alloys. However, the Secretary must consult vending machine and coin acceptor manufacturers, and "may not include any recommendation for new specifications for producing a circulating coin that would require any significant change to coin-accepting and coin-handling equipment to accommodate changes to all circulating coins simultaneously." NAMA supported this legislation, helped provide language for the bill, and NAMA Chairman Craig Hesch testified before Congress in July regarding potential alloy change in coins. In a recent meeting between the U.S. Mint and NAMA, it is clear that the U.S. Treasury does not currently have a coinage change study in process. Since no plan currently exists to change the coin alloys, any study could take 2 years to conclude.


Federal Issues



High Priority: Congress passes on tax packages which helps vending industry
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As noted above, Congress passed broad tax relief which was signed into law by President Obama on Dec. 17., 2010. The legislation will directly and indirectly help the vending, food service and coffee industry. This $858 billion package, which was negotiated between the White House and Congressional leaders:
• Temporarily extends the 25 percent, 28 percent, 33 percent, and 35 percent personal income tax brackets through 2012.
• Temporarily extends bonus depreciation. For investments placed in service after Sept. 8, 2010 and through Dec. 31, 2011, the bill provides for 100 percent bonus depreciation. For investments placed in service after Dec. 31, 2011 and through Dec. 31, 2012, the bill provides for 50 percent bonus depreciation.
• Temporarily provides a Payroll Tax Holiday. Under current law employees pay a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on all wages earned up to $106,800 (in 2011) and self-employed individuals pay a 12.4 percent Social Security self-employment tax of on all their self-employment income up to the same threshold. The bill provides a payroll/self-employment tax holiday during 2011 of two percentage points. This means employees will pay only 4.2 percent on wages and self-employed individuals will pay only 10.4 percent on self-employment income up to the threshold.
• Reinstates the Business Research and Development tax credit. The bill reinstates for two years (through 2011) the research credit.
• Extends enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory. The bill extends for two years (through 2011) the provision allowing businesses to claim an enhanced deduction for the contribution of food inventory.
• Extends Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). Under current law, businesses are allowed to claim a work opportunity tax credit equal to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages paid to new hires of one of nine targeted groups. These groups include members of families receiving benefits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program, qualified veterans, designated community residents, and others. The WOTC program is currently set to expire Aug. 31, 2011. The bill extends this provision through Dec. 31, 2011 and would be effective for employees hired after date of enactment.
• Excludes small business capital gains. Generally, non-corporate taxpayers may exclude 50 percent of the gain from the sale of certain small business stock acquired at original issue and held for more than five years. For stock acquired after Feb. 17, 2009 and on or before Sept. 27, 2010, the exclusion is increased to 75 percent. For stock acquired after Sept. 27, 2010 and before Jan. 1, 2011, the exclusion is 100 percent and the AMT preference item attributable for the sale is eliminated. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.



Estate tax changes passes
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As part of the above legislative package on taxes, Congress changed to the federal estate tax rate of 35 percent tax on the value of an estate above $5 million. An estate tax has not been in effect during 2010. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


Draft debit card fee rules released
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The Federal Reserve recently released draft rules related to debit card interchange fees. When Congress approved the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Financial Protection Act during the summer of 2010, it included a requirement that the Federal Reserve issue rules to ensure that debit card interchange fees are reasonable and proportional to the processing costs incurred. The Federal Reserve Board proposed two alternative interchange fee standards that would apply to all covered issuers: one based on each issuer's costs, with a safe harbor (initially set at 7 cents per transaction) and a cap (initially set at 12 cents per transaction); and the other, a stand-alone cap (initially set at 12 cents per transaction). Under both proposals, interchange fees for debit cards would be capped at no more than 12 cents per transaction rather than according to the National Retail Federation "current structure of 1 or 2 percent of the purchase price. That means a retailer would pay his or her bank 12 cents to process a $100 transaction rather than about $1.50." According to the recently released 2010 Federal Reserve payment study, debit card use in the United States now exceeds all other forms of non-cash payments and, by number of payments, represents approximately 35 percent of total non-cash payments. The Federal Reserve expects to publish final rules in April 2011 which will go into effect June 21, 2011. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


Other Federal Issues



NAMA issues guidance on new ADA requirements for vending machines
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In an attempt to answer questions about the latest Department of Justice regulations on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), NAMA has issued a Frequently Asked Question document. The document addresses issues related to new reach range requirements that have been changed to provide that the side reach range for operating controls must now be no higher than 48 inches (instead of 54 inches) and the dispensing tray must be no lower than 15 inches (instead of 9 inches). A copy of the FAQ document can be found here. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


NAMA submits comments on calorie disclosure in vending
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On Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011, NAMA sent comments to the Food and Drug Administration regarding calorie disclosure in vending. NAMA submitted formal comments in response to the FDA's estimate that it will take more than 14,000,000 hours each year for the vending industry to label the calorie of food and beverages sold in vending machines. The FDA is writing rules on calorie disclosure and the agency is required to release draft regulations by March 23, 2011. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


Obama signs food safety bill into law
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President Obama signed the food safety bill into law on Tuesday, January 4, 2011. The $1.4 billion law strengthens the ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to order recalls and it increases inspections and improves record keeping at farms and processing plants to prevent food outbreaks. The bill also requires importers to certify the safety of what they're bringing into this country. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


Congress to vote on repeal of health care reform
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The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on Wednesday, Jan. 12, to repeal the new federal health care law. Since Republicans are now in the majority in the House, this repeal vote is expected to pass. However, it is unlikely that the Senate will support the repeal and President Obama will certainly veto any attempt to repeal the full bill. Following this vote, Congress will continue the legislative maneuvering on health care reform by attempting to eliminate components or by refusing to fund any government programs related to the 2010 bill. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


Several new federal health care rules went into effect Jan. 1, 2011
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On Jan. 1, 2011, new provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went into effect. While there are lots of exemptions and "fine print," changes for the New Year include:
• Discount of 50 percent on drugs in the "donut hole." Starting in January of 2011, seniors who reach Medicare's prescriptions "donut hole" coverage gap will receive a 50 percent discount when buying Medicare Part D-covered, brand-name prescription drugs.
• Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts are reduced. You may no longer use FSA or HSA funds on over-the-counter medications unless they are prescribed by a physician.
• Free preventive screenings allowed for those in traditional Medicare plans. No co-payments are required for preventive services and screenings, including flu shots and pneumonia vaccines as well as many medical screenings.
• Children can stay on your insurance until age 26. Most health plans must now allow continuing coverage for children until age 26 regardless of whether they are married, living with you, in school, financially dependent, or eligible to enroll in their employer's plan.
• Annual limits on health insurance will increase. The limit on how much an insurance company will pay for each individual's health care over the course of the year will be raised to $750,000. By 2014, there will be no annual limit for health insurance plans that were issued after March 23, 2010.
• Medicare costs raised for higher-income individuals and couples. Medicare Part D premium subsidy will be reduced for individuals with incomes above $85,000 and couples making more than $170,000.

For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org .



Congress reconvenes
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On Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives convened to elect John Boehner (R-OH) the 61st Speaker of the House. The opening day partisan breakout is 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats — a net gain of 63 seats for the GOP. The freshman class is 87 Republicans and nine Democrats. In the U.S. Senate, the Democrats will control 53 seats (including the 2 independents). The roster of 47 Republicans is a net increase of six. For additional information contact Ned Monroe at nmonroe@vending.org.


NAMA Membership Quick Poll: Legislative priority of Congress
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What should be the top priority of the new members of Congress? Should they change health care legislation, extend tax cuts, or cut spending? Vote today on NAMA government affairs web page: www.NAMAVoice.org.


State Issues



Alabama: 'think vending' stickers
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The Alabama Vending Association (AVA) has created a sticker for its members to display on their vending machines. This sticker informs the consumer that 'vending machines save money.' All operators in Alabama will receive a supply with their paid AVA membership. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Arkansas: 2011 legislative day
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Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011, for AVC's legislative day. This will be a good opportunity to be proactive with some of the decision makers in Arkansas, so please plan to attend. WE NEED YOU! Meet us at 7:30 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza at 201 South Shackleford in Little Rock to carpool to the Capitol or meet us at the Arkansas Capitol at 8:00 a.m. in room 119 (in basement) by the standard elevators to assemble and distribute goody bags. (Parking at the Capitol is limited). Contact your local representatives and set up appointments to meet with them while you are at the Capitol. We need your help to put a face on the vending industry. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Florida: Halt to flavored milk ban
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Adam Putnam (R), who will soon take over as Florida's agriculture commissioner, has put a halt to the state's effort to ban chocolate milk and most other high sugar drinks in Florida schools. His action, in the form of a letter sent to the Florida State Board of Education, indefinitely delays the board's ongoing debate on whether to rid public schools of the kinds of sweet drinks that medical experts say contribute to childhood obesity and diabetes. Putnam said he thinks a broader approach to student nutrition is needed rather than just limits on sugar-sweetened beverages such as flavored milk and sports drinks. He recently asked the Board of Education to put off talks until he is sworn in and can weigh-in on the issue. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Florida: One day only — A networking event you don't want to miss!
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The AMAF board members have been traveling around Florida, inviting local vendors to networking events and quarterly meetings to tell them about the benefits of NAMA and AMAF membership. At these events new operator members receive AMAF dues payment discounts, a chance at great door prizes and an opportunity to talk with other operators in a relaxed atmosphere, all while partaking of good food and drink supplied by the associate members in attendance. The next networking event will be held Jan. 19, 2011 from 1:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at the Best Western at 1900 Stirling Road in Dania Beach. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Georgia: Years of dedicated work by GAMC and NAMA result in tax break victory for state vendors!
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As of Jan. 1, 2011 packaged beverages and food items of all kinds, including bottled water, candy and vending machine items will be subject to local taxes only. According to the Informational Bulletin SUT 2010-12-23 on Taxation of "Food and Food Ingredients" and "Prepared Food," as of Jan. 1, 2011, 'food will no longer be defined by reference to the federal Food Stamp Act of 1977' and in section 7b-2 of this bulletin it states that vending machine items will only be subject to local taxes. This bulletin was released to provide guidance to dealers that sell food, food ingredients and prepared food regarding changes to and clarification of certain sales tax provisions as of Jan. 1, 2011. These changes will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2011 and will supersede all previous documents and oral directives in conflict. For your convenience, the link to this informational bulletin is here. This victory illustrates why being an active member of your state and national associations are so important!  For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Kansas: KHPA gets federal bonus payment
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The Kansas Health Policy Authority was recently awarded a $2.6 million bonus payment from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This bonus money was a reward for the state’s efforts to increase enrollment of children in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This is the second bonus payment awarded to KHPA in 2010. In order to qualify for the bonus payments, states must implement at least five program features that have been proven to promote enrollment and retention in health coverage for children. The states are also required to demonstrate significant increase in Medicaid enrollment among children during the fiscal year. For additional information contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.


Kansas: Tax-only revenues down
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The Kansas Department of Revenue reported that December's tax-only revenues were more than $22 million below estimates made on November 2. The deficit was mostly due to corporate income tax receipts, which were nearly $30 million below estimates. However, if there was a bright side to the shortfall, it would be the fact that individual income tax receipts for December were $14.6 million, which was 7 percent above the projected amount. This increase in individual income tax payments means that more people are working or earning more taxable salaries. For additional information contact Kim Radulski at kradulski@vending.org.


Kentucky: Possible age restriction for purchasing high-caffeine energy drinks?
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Kentucky is considering a ban on sales of high-caffeine energy drinks to anyone under 18 years old. The proposal comes on the heels of action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to declare caffeine in alcoholic energy drinks an "unsafe food additive." Kentucky lawmakers have considered such a ban on the caffeinated energy drinks in the past, but the idea has never garnered enough support to pass. With new information raising fresh concerns, Ford said he believes it's time to try again. Lawmakers convened the 2011 legislative session on Jan. 4. The proposal targets carbonated drinks that contain 71 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce serving and that contain the chemicals taurine and glucuronolactone, which are commonly used in energy drinks. The FDA, under pressure because of a rash of hospitalizations of college students, issued warning letters in November to manufacturers of alcoholic energy drinks. The FDA's concern was that caffeine in the drinks could mask a person's feeling of intoxication, raising risks for alcohol poisoning. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


New Jersey: Tri-state council (N.J., Pa. and Del.) meeting, Jan. 11, 2011, Cherry Hill, N.J.
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Please join the Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at Maggiano's restaurant in Cherry Hill, N.J., 12:00 p.m. - 2 :00 p.m. for a membership meeting. All are invited to attend! Please join the Tri-state board, lobbyists and NAMA staff for lunch, and learn what your state association is doing for you and the vending and coffee service industries! The $40 fee includes buffet lunch. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: Another victory for Native Americans regarding cigarette taxes
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The Second Circuit Appeals Court rejected a request from New York State lawyers, who asked that the state be allowed to collect cigarette taxes from Native American businesses while appeals are pending. The state is trying to overturn orders previously filed by judges in Buffalo and Utica, N.Y., which are preventing the state from taxing cigarette sales from Indian-owned businesses to non-Indians. State officials insist the taxation effort is constitutional and that they have estimated the state can collect $110 million in taxes during the first six months. Judges from the Second Circuit will rule on the taxation issue. The ruling is anticipated within the 2011 calendar year. Many people on both sides of the fight believe it will go beyond the Second Circuit to the U. S. Supreme Court. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: Governor Paterson signs bill increasing penalties against employers on wage rates
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Outgoing Gov. David Paterson (D) has signed SB 8380, a bill that quadruples penalties against employers who pay below the minimum wage, fail to pay overtime or unfairly garnish wages. The measure allows a N.Y .court or the Labor Department to force employers to pay back wages plus another 100 percent in damages (an increase from the current 25 percent). The law goes into effect in April 201l. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: Energy shots — Tax or no tax?
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In a dispute between an unidentified (N.Y.) statewide trade association and New York City's Consumer Affairs Department, tax officials have ruled on the collection of tax on sales of Red Bull energy shots. The trade association says retailers were fined by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs for charging sales tax on sales of the 2-ounce shots, which the city considers to be an exempted dietary supplement, like vitamins, artificial sweeteners, and liquid diet drinks. The state overruled, stating that Red Bull shots are not exempt as a health supplement, since health supplements are products intended to substitute for natural food, and the Red Bull shots are not substitutes for natural food. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: Governor-elect intends to cap local property taxes
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Governor-elect Cuomo (D) has made it clear to legislative leaders that he intends to cap local property taxes in New York. Three previous New York governors have tried and failed to limit local taxes, which are among the highest in the country. The taxes are a primary reason many say the state has become unaffordable. With the Senate controlled by Republicans and voters in a tax-rebellion mood, Mr. Cuomo may be facing a more favorable political climate for a cap. A cap would not directly affect New York City, where property taxes are relatively low because of revenue from the city’s personal income tax, and where the schools are financed through the general city budget. But outside the city, New York is among the most heavily taxed states in the country. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


New York: N.Y. State Vending Association meeting, Jan. 18. 2011, Latham, N.Y.
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Please join NYSAVA at the Century House in Latham, N.Y., on Jan. 18, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Hear from professional speakers, N.Y. state board members and lobbyists, a N.Y. state Senator and NAMA staff. Learn what your state and national associations are doing on your behalf in Albany, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. The $65 fee includes networking supplier reception and dinner. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Ohio: Incoming governor says he will not increase taxes
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Incoming Gov. John Kasich (R) and Republican leaders have said that any kind of tax increase is absolutely off the table this year. They’re opposed to tax hikes in principle, and with the state and nation slowly recovering from an economic slowdown, they believe that now is not the time to take any more money from Ohio taxpayers. They also hope this will make Ohio more business friendly, and will propose legislation to ease regulations on businesses. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Oklahoma: Bill introduced in effort to amend 300 percent tax increase
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In 2010, Oklahoma vendors saw their tax per machine rise 300 percent — up from $50 to $150 per machine ( 2010 OK H 2359). On Dec. 28, 2010, a bill (2011 OK H 1041) to amend this tax was pre-filed with the state legislature for consideration during the upcoming legislative session. If passed, this bill would lower the per machine tax to $75 per machine which may be a more realistic and affordable increase for the industry in Oklahoma. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Pennsylvania: Wine vending machines to be audited
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Auditor General Jack Wagner (D) will audit the Liquor Control Board's wine vending machines in 30 supermarkets. They have been shut down because of ongoing mechanical problems. The LCB launched the program this summer. Under a contract with Simple Brands, the LCB did not pay for the machines; it pays Simple Brands a fee for special displays, advertisements or public service announcements on screens where customers place their orders. Customers pay $1 on every transaction, and that money goes directly to Simple Brands. The machines require customers to scan their driver's licenses and pass a breathalyzer test. The LCB reports that the board has made more than $330,000 in sales from the machines and sold 32,000 bottles of wine. The LCB's contract with Simple Brands has been controversial. The company was the only bidder, and several of its members contributed heavily to Gov. Rendell's campaigns over the last decade. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Tennessee: Join us for TAMA's Legislative Day!
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The Tennessee Automatic Merchandising Association membership will meet at 8:00 a.m.on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 in the cafeteria of Legislative Plaza (at the corner of 5th & Union). Prior to Feb. 22, members are asked to make appointments with local representatives. Come meet your legislators, help distribute goody bags and put a face on the vending industry in Tennessee. We need to work together to successfully protect the interests of our industry. Our state representatives need to understand that vending is an integral part of the business and manufacturing industry in Tennessee. For more information contact Mary Lou Monaghan at mmonaghan@vending.org.


Texas: Texas Merchandise Vending Association Legislative Day
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The Texas Merchandise Vending Association will have a legislative day on Tuesday, January 25, 2011. The day will start with a breakfast for legislators and staff at 8:00 a.m. at the Capitol Grill, 1400 N. Congress Ave., Austin. Office visits with legislators will start at 10:00 a.m. at the Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Avenue, Austin. TMVA will also hold a board meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn - Downtown Austin on the previous day, Jan. 24. The meeting will begin at 2:00 p.m. For more information contact Sandy Larson at slarson@vending.org.


Vermont: Governor-elect against Attorney General's proposal to tax sweetened drinks
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State Attorney General William Sorrell (D) has proposed a tax on energy drinks, flavored waters, soft drinks and sweetened iced teas, saying it would slash resident consumption of those drinks by 20% and raise $30 million in annual revenue. The Alliance for a Healthier Vermont supports Sorrell’s proposal, but Governor-elect Peter Shumlin (D) is against it. The Beverage Association of Vermont also opposes any tax on drinks. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.


Virginia: Economic development package creates jobs
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Virginia has given $7.7 million to 13 companies over the past 5 months to create 1,677 jobs in the state. The money came from a $58 million economic development package approved by the General Assembly last spring. For more information contact Pam Gilbert at pgilbert@vending.org.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association www.vending.org

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