vending machine fees, Massachusetts vending machine fee hike, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Vending Association, Bob Frotten, Shaunna O'Connell, vending operator, vending machine tax, calorie-labeling rules for vending machines
BOSTON -- 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 state Department of Public Health had proposed a 567% fee hike from $3 per machine to $20. | SEE STORY
Sponsored by Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton), the amendment to the House's proposed $32.4 billion fiscal 2013 budget would prevent the DOH from raising the fee more than 100% in a calendar year.
Health officials say 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 levy jumped from $1 to $3.
Massachusetts Vending Association president Bob Frotten testified on the industry's behalf at a public hearing in March on the proposed fee hike. The vending association also launched a petition at change.org and issued stickers to operators to put on their machines to promote the cause. The decals inform patrons about the proposed fee hike and that its passage would necessitate higher vend prices, and ask them to help fight the measure by signing the online petition.