26, 2012- MVA Opposes Increase in Vending License Fees
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is proposing to increase
the cost of Vending Machine Licenses from $3.00 to $20.00 per machine!
That's a 567% increase!
The impact of this legislation upon our small industry would
substantially increase the cost of business for vending operators,
would surely make the products more expensive for the consumer and
would likely force some vending operators out of business.
DPH justifies this as necessary to underwrite costs of an anticipated
increase in inspections due to Healthy Food regulations promulgated by
HHS - and nutritional disclosures mandated by the US Affordable Care
Act. On the first issue, this applies only to machines in public
school locations which constitute a very small percent of the vending
machines in Massachusetts, and on the second issue the FDA has yet to
issue guidelines. We believe these are ill conceived agendas to punish
an industry the DPH dislikes.
The Massachusetts Vending Association has been actively opposing this
increase. MVA members testified on behalf of the industry on March 14,
2012 at a DPH hearing on the license fee increase and will be carrying
our message to Beacon Hill soon.
MVA members testify at DPH hearing
MVA members testify at DPH hearing on March 14, 2012. From left:
Dennis Surprenant, Rich Conrad, Steve Foley, Bob Frotten, Charles
Brinkmann, Pat Arone, Jeff Terban and Steve Murphy
The MVA has also created a petition at Change.org (see below), started
a sticker campaign for our memebrs' machines, created letters to be
sent to our legislators, and is gearing up for a grassroots campaign
to counter this unfair increase!
You can help! go to www.change.org and
sign our petition "Tell Mass. DPH: NO
Increase to Vending Machine Fees!" (You can find our petition by
searching under 'vending fees'.
Text of MVA's Change.org petition:
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has proposed to increase
vending machine license fees by 567% per machine. This is an
outrageous increase on an industry that embodies the term “small
business entrepreneurs.” The impact upon these businesses would be
substantially increasing the cost of business for vending operators.
It will surely make the products more expensive for the consumer and
would likely force some vending operators out of business.
Vending machines provide a wide variety of food products to customers
in many locations where other options are not easily accessible.
Vending machines can be found in recreational facilities, in colleges
and universities, in public and private schools and in hospitals and
nursing homes. We are in business where convenience stores and
cafeterias cannot be located, we provide immediate access to food,
drinks and snacks and we are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We
serve the public.
Vending companies pay income taxes, payroll taxes, real estate taxes,
personal property taxes, fuel taxes, to name the most common. We pay
registration fees, various operating license fee and tolls all
supporting the government’s taxation on our businesses. We hire local
employees who contribute in their own ways to the local economies and
pay their fair share of taxes.
This proposed increase is exorbitant. The fees charged by the
Department of Health for most businesses Is several hundred dollars.
This increase will “tax” vending companies in the thousands of
dollars. It could result in some job losses and surely will affect the
prices of your vending favorites.
Help us by signing our petition and locudly proclaining to the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health your opposition to this
proposed increase. Say NO to this proposal.
In March 2012, MVA raised a wave of major opposition to the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health's (DPH) proposed increase in
vending machine license fees. At that time DPH was proposing to raise
the license fee per machine from $3 to $20 or a 567% increase.
MVA's opposition to DPH included
Appearing at a DPH hearing on the subject, offering testimony in
Lobbying with various members of the Legislative Branch
Organizing a grass roots petition on the website change.org with
outstanding participation by members, suppliers, employees and others
in a consistent one by one criticism of DPH action and in favor of our
The result, MVA created enough recognition of our industry's plight
that, when coupled with election year pressure on curtailing negative
impacts on middle class incomes and taxes, resulted in DPH's
proposition being flushed down the drain with every other bad tax/fee
Well DPH IS BACK!!!!!
In August 2014, as part of a full scale list of fee increase made by
the State Department of Administration and Finance, and with the
newest state fiscal year just beginning in a lame duck year, DPH
notified MVA that there was a new license fee in effect (August 1st)
that required the payment of a $10 fee for each vending machine
As our industry continues to suffer from an economy that struggles
along, our members will now receive new machine license fee invoices
demanding a $7 per machine increase or 333%.
Where does MVA stand today on this issue?
As background, this is not new blatantly exorbitant step by DPH to
take money. In 1985 MVA took DPH to court seeking a rollback of a then
fee increase from $1 to $5. The result of this class action suit,
where MVA was recognized by the court as representing all
Massachusetts state vending operators, was a court ruling in favor of
MVA against DPH, with the fee increase overturned. All fees were
reimbursed. The MVA maintained that DPH's fee increase was not and
could not be established as being in support of any additional costs
incurred by DPH in support of vending machine inspections, and was,
therefore, a tax and not a fee increase.
Once again MVA has filed suit in Massachusetts Suffolk Superior Court
representing Foley Foodservice and all the member companies of MVA in
opposition to the August 2014 fee increase. MVA maintains that DPH has
failed to inspect licensed vending machines for a period of many
years, while only inspecting a very few warehouse and distribution
facilities where in almost all cases, there is no food preparation.
Basically, the fee increase does not meet the test of a fair and
necessary increase to meet inspection needs per the Massachusetts Law
governing these fees.
At present, the Assistant Attorney General representing both the
Department of Administration and Finance and the Department of Public
Health has asked for an extension of thirty (30) days to review the
case. We will keep all members informed.