ALBANY Many of the breath mints, chocolate bars and sodas bought from vending machines won't be subject to sales tax under New York's new budget.
Items purchased for less than $1.50 from automatic vending machines will be exempt from the tax beginning June 1, according to a provision tucked into the state's $137.9 billion spending plan, which took effect Tuesday.
The state's current threshold for sales tax on vending-machine sales is 75 cents and has been in place since 2000. A trade group representing the state's machine owners had been pushing for the change over the past few years, but a bill to boost it to $1.50 was vetoed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in each of the last two years.
At the time of his December veto, Cuomo said the change should be negotiated as part of the state budget. When lawmakers passed the budget Monday, the provision was included.
"The passage of this exemption represents a significant accomplishment for the New York vending industry and the industry at large," Sheree Edwards, legislative director of the National Automatic Merchandising Association said in a statement.
The New York State Automatic Vending Association had spent $75,800 since the beginning of 2012 lobbying state lawmakers and the governor's office on the exemption. It also made about $23,700 in campaign donations since the start of 2012, including $15,000 to Cuomo and $2,500 to Senate Deputy Republican Leader Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, who sponsored the exemption bill.
The campaign Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, Madison County, received $1,040 since 2012 from the group. He was the Assembly sponsor of the exemption bill.
"The New York State Automated Vending Association sincerely thanks Senator Tom Libous and Assemblyman Bill Magee for their strong support and hard work on this issue and the governor for agreeing with the Legislature on this vital issue for the vending industry in New York state," Brian Gill, president of the state vending group, said in a statement.