The Massachusetts House has passed a state budget amendment that sets a $6 limit to increases in the annual license fee for vending machines this year, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) reported. The state Department of Public Health (DPH) had proposed a 567 percent fee hike from $3 per machine to $20. The amendment to the House's proposed $32.4 billion fiscal 2013 budget would prevent DPH from raising the fee more than 100 percent in a calendar year.
Health officials said the proposed $20 fee would fund inspections to ensure the vending industry's compliance with the federal calorie-disclosure requirements and new state rules banning snacks high in sugar and fats in schools. The state last raised its vending machine license fee in 2003, when the fee was raised from $1 to $3.The Massachusetts Vending Association was instrumental in reducing the increase from $20 to $6. MVA president Bob Frotten testified on the industry's behalf at a public hearing in March on the proposed fee hike. MVA posted an online petition and issued stickers to operators to put on their machines in opposition to the fee increase. The decals informed customers about the proposed fee hike, stressed that it would necessitate higher prices and encouraged them to sign the online petition. For more information, contact Pam Gilbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s Insight: This battle has been a long and difficult one for the Massachusetts Vending Association, and it demonstrates the need for vending operators to be organized to protect their interests.
Congratulations to the Massachusetts Vending Association for its hard work in preserving some sanity in the state government.
Shame, shame, shame on every vending operator in Massachusetts who does not support the association in its efforts. 05-04-12 By Elliot Maras