California Automatic Vending Council Testifies In Sacramento On Sales Tax Equity Bill

May 28, 2015

(CHICAGO) May 27, 2015 – Members of the California Automatic Vending Council (CAVC) were in Sacramento May 18 to testify before the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee on AB 155 (Dababneh), a bill supported by CAVC that would remove the partial tax on food products sold through vending machines in the state of California.

Assemblymember Matt Dababneh introduced the bill and stressed that the bill was about remedying an inequity in California's tax law regarding the taxation of items sold through vending machines. Pete Tullio, NAMA Board Chair and President and CEO of Gourmet Coffee Service and World Wide Vending in Van Nuys, California, testified on behalf of CAVC. Barbara Moore, Chair of the Rules Committee for the California Vendors Policy Committee (CVPC), testified on behalf of blind vendors in California. Sandra Larson, NAMA Senior Director of Government Affairs, Kate Bell, Capitol Advocacy (CAVC lobbyists) and approximately 15 other CAVC members and blind vending operators were also present to voice their support of the bill. 

“As vending machine operators in the State of California, we are seeking parity with other retailers in the state that do not pay sales tax on food products” Tullio testified. “Due to the disparity in the law, vending machine operators are forced to either absorb the sales tax or pass it on to consumers. Should this measure become law, our industry would have the means to reinvest in our businesses in the form of jobs, technology improvements to our equipment, all contributing to increased sales.  This reinvestment in business and economic activity will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the state.” Tullio concluded.

Moore focused on the background of the Business Enterprise Program and the Randolph Sheppard Act. “The Business Enterprise vendors of California view this as unfair and are seeking parity with other retailers in the state who do not need to pay sales tax on the exact same food products,” Moore testified. “The unfairness of this tax on our blind vendors needs to be addressed. We operate with a slim margin of profit to make ends meet and provide for our families.  It is time to put us on a level playing field with our competition by taxing these food products equitably.”

The bill had a fiscal price tag, which sent it to the Suspense file where it was ultimately held by the Chair, Assembly Member Phil Ting (District 19-San Francisco). Since it is a two-year bill, CAVC will be able to address the committee again in January of 2016 to attempt to move the bill forward. In the meantime, CAVC will continue its outreach and work with the Board of Equalization to help identify a solution.

“We are disappointed, but not surprised that the bill did not make it out of committee. We have made a great deal of progress this year and will continue to build legislative champions for the industry,” said NAMA Government Affairs Committee Member Robert Donohue. “The legislators we met with this year heard our message loud and clear. The next step is to keep it in the front of their minds.”

Founded in 1936, NAMA is the association representing the $42 billion U.S. vending and refreshment service industry.  With more than 1500 member companies – including many of the world’s most recognized brands – NAMA provides advocacy, education and research for its membership. Visit NAMA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn


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National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA)

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