Voters in Washington state and Colorado rejected proposals that, if enacted, would have had adverse effects on the vending industry, and many other food and beverage businesses. The National Automatic Merchandising Association, which had worked with its state councils and within supplier coalitions, hailed the success of these public education efforts.
In Colorado, the city of Telluride placed an item on the ballot that would have levied a 1¢ per fl.oz. tax on carbonated soft, sports and energy drinks, as well as sweetened coffee and tea beverages. It was proposed by a group calling itself Kick the Can Telluride. Voters rejected it by a 68% to 32% margin.
In Colorado, NAMA joined the Colorado Vending Council, the American Beverage Association and other industry organizations and leaders in educating the community on the effects of the proposed tax increase.
"Thanks to informed voters, we avoided what would have been an overly burdensome tax on the industry and its consumers," said Eric Dell, NAMA's senior vice-president of government affairs. "We look forward to working with Telluride and other communities to promote healthy choices within the industry without raising taxes and imposing additional regulations."
Washington state's ballot included the much-discussed initiative to the Legislature 522 (I-522) that would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled "on the front of the package of such food produced by a manufacturer, with the words 'partially produced with genetic engineering' or 'may be partially produced with genetic engineering' stated clearly and conspicuously." The state's voters rejected this measure by 54% to 46%.
In Washington, NAMA government affairs counsel Sandy Larson spearheaded the Northwest Automatic Vending Association's activities to defeat the GEO labeling initiative. If I-522 had passed, she said, "it would have had a major impact on the vending and refreshment services industry in Washington."
These manifestations of common sense by the electorate should not lead industry members to believe that the worst is over. "Moving forward, there will continue to be challenges like these all across the country," Dell warned. "You can count on NAMA to do everything in its power to help foster a business-friendly climate whenever the opportunity arises."