PFMA President Alex Baloga and member Lisa Dell’Alba, Square One Markets, met with U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent in July at his Dauphin County office in Hershey to discuss GMO and menu labeling, health care reform and tax reform.
The General Assembly sent Governor Tom Wolf a $32 billion spending plan for the 2017-18 State Budget on Friday, June 30, but details on how lawmakers intended on funding that spending plan have only recently begun to take a definitive form. The projected budget deficit continues to hover near $2.2 billion, and negotiations have largely focused on filling the gap with funds borrowed from the Tobacco Settlement Fund, a transfer from the Workers’ Compensation Security Fund, and reforms in the liquor and gaming industries.
After weeks of closed door negotiations, the Senate passed a funding proposal that raises an additional $1.8 billion in revenues, mainly through a significant amount of borrowing, as expected. However, the package also includes several surprising tax expansions and increases and regulation changes. The House previously passed a proposal that did not have any tax increases, instead finding additional revenues to fill the budget deficit through liquor and gaming reforms, and it is unclear what House members will decide to do in regard to the Senate’s proposal. The full House has not yet returned to session to consider the package, although House leaders have said they are reviewing the details and that House members should be prepared to return to Harrisburg.
Below are some of the highlights from the Senate’s revenue proposal:
• The package would raise revenues by an estimated $1.8 billion. • $571.5 million comes from tax increases and expansions. The state intends on borrowing $1.3 billion, and transferring an additional $200 million from the Workers’ Compensation Security and the Volkswagen Settlement Funds. • Gross Receipts Taxes account for an additional $445.9 million in generated revenue. • Sales taxes are expanded to include online purchases from third party vendors who do not already remit sales taxes. • Consumer fireworks are legalized, and assessed a total 18% sales tax. • Net Operating Loss cap is changed, but only if the courts nullify the current NOL provisions in the Nextel NOL case. Cap would be set at 30% taxable income in 2018, and 40% taxable income in 2019. • A number of fees have been imposed or increased, including fees on: - Copies of death records - Child welfare background checks - Criminal background checks - Applications by higher education institutions to operate in PA - Inspections/permits from the PA Department of Labor and Industry - Municipal recycling fee sunset date extended - Surcharge on traffic citations as collected by the Unified Judicial System
• Noticeably missing from the package: - iLottery/gaming reforms - Liquor reforms - eCigarette and vape tax repeal - Delaware loophole reforms - Sales tax increase and/or expansions on various commercial services - SNAP distribution schedule expansion - Merger of state departments and agencies - Minimum wage increase - Personal income tax increase - PA Department of Revenue proposal to utilize the Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM) system to enhance delinquent tax collections - PA Department of Revenue proposal to utilize the credit card levies to enhance delinquent tax collections on businesses - Property tax elimination reform
For more detailed information on each bill in the Senate’s revenue proposal, please refer to the table below. PFMA will continue to advocate on behalf of members regarding this budget proposal. Please direct any questions or concerns to Alex Baloga or Meagan Thorpe.
As you are aware, the sale of malt or brewed beverages for off-premises consumption is limited to 192 fluid ounces per transaction in the state of Pennsylvania. Should an individual customer wish to purchase above this amount they are required to do so in two separate transactions.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) recently reiterated the Board’s previously standing opinion that a transaction is not considered to be “completed” until such time as the product has been paid for and removed from the premises. Only after the product has been removed from the premises and placed in the individual’s vehicle may an additional transaction be initiated, allowing the person to purchase more than the 192 fluid ounce per transaction limit imposed by the state.
More information on these and other PLCB regulations and enforcement may be found on the PLCB and the Pennsylvania State Police’s Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement’s websites.
Philadelphia Magazine recently named Jeff Brown, Brown’s Super Stores, to its “Best of Philly 38 Philadelphians We Love." Brown, named the supermarket impresario, was honored for turning his supermarkets into community anchors by offering in-store medical clinics and financial counseling. In addition, the magazine noted that he does right by his employees and hires ex-felons to help get their lives on back on track.
Above, Jeff and Sandy Brown enjoy the "Best of Philly" soirée, hosted by Philadelphia Magazine.
In mid-June City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney approved a $4.4 billion budget for the next fiscal year before breaking from session for the summer. Additional funding will go towards a variety of programs, from incentives for employers to hire recently released offenders to the mayor’s “Rebuild” program, but even so the budget does not include any new taxes or tax increases. In fact, the city’s wage tax was reduced for both residents and non-residents. Instead, the city will fund the budget mainly through new tax revenues from a reassessment of commercial property values in Philadelphia and the sweetened beverage tax. Collection of the Philadelphia 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on thousands of sweetened beverages began on January 1, but already the city has announced collections are not meeting projected levels. This shortfall, along with threats from the federal and state government to reduce funding next year to so called “sanctuary cities”, could become a problem for the city in future years, as pension and health-care costs increase dramatically.
The Commonwealth Court upheld a decision by the lower court that the sweetened beverage tax is legal under Pennsylvania Law, and an appeal has been made to the state’s Supreme Court to reverse that decision. PFMA is a plaintiff in the case and continues to help lead a coalition looking to repeal the tax and find an alternative funding source.
Earlier this session, PFMA was successful in blocking a 15 cent-per-container tax on beverage bottles and cans in Philadelphia, and worked with City Council to halt legislation aimed at limiting the use of restrictive covenants for grocery stores. Although well intentioned, the language included in the bill would have prohibited restrictive covenants that apply when a grocery store is still operating in the vicinity. This would have jeopardized many current food retail locations, and deterred small-format grocery store owners from investing in development out of concern that a larger competitor will move in and starve out any surrounding business.
The association has also been working hard at the state level to enact legislation that would preempt municipalities from banning or imposing a fee on plastic bags, which continues to be a major concern in Philadelphia following the release of Mayor Kenney’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet’s Action Plan. That plan recommends City Council pass an ordinance to ban plastic bags outright, because of the cost to collect and enforce plastic bag fees. PFMA supported a state bill that would have preempted Philadelphia and other municipalities from imposing such a ban was passed by the General Assembly in June 2017, however, Governor Wolf vetoed the bill before it could pass into law.
PFMA associate member FMS Solutions, a retail accounting and financial services company, recently announced that Gary Lauer has joined the company as its Key Account Executive of the Northeast region.
Lauer brings with him decades of grocery experience both at the retail and wholesale level. He started in the grocery business as a boy at his family’s store in central Pennsylvania. After college, he worked at the York, Pa.-based wholesaler PA&S Small Co. and its successive owners SM Flickinger, Scrivner Co., and Fleming Foods.
In 2000, Lauer became the Director of Retail Development for Associated Wholesalers Inc. (AWI) and later C&S Wholesale Grocers, where he served until 2015. He then joined the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association as its Director of Membership Development until he joined FMS in the summer of 2017.
“We’re proud to have Gary on board,” says Mark Ehleben, vice president of FMS. “He brings a great deal of knowledge and expertise in the independent supermarket industry and will be a tremendous asset to both FMS and our customers.”
Lauer graduated from St. Joseph’s University with a bachelor’s degree in Food Marketing and earned his MBA from York College of Pennsylvania.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 717-501-2046 (cell), or 877-435-9400 x 1241.
FMS Solutions currently services independent retail grocery and independent supermarket operations in approximately 3,500 locations throughout North America, The Caribbean and South America. Its headquarters are in Pasadena, Maryland, with offices in Pittsburgh, PA, Nashville, TN, Portland, OR, Dallas, TX, Eatonton, NJ, and Detroit, MI.
An independent judging panel selected 14 recipients of the "Big Joe" Sheetz Scholarship for 2017-18. Joseph M. Sheetz, "Big Joe" served as the leader of store development at Sheetz Inc. for more than 20 years. He was a respected businessman, an avid community leader and a beloved family man. After he passed away in August, 2006 from kidney cancer, Sheetz established the Joseph M. Sheetz Scholarship Fund, Inc. to honor his memory.
The 2017-18 Big Joe Scholars are:
Derek Arnold, Altoona, PA
"The generosity of the Big Joe Foundation has been incredibly humbling. As I enter my senior year of college and prepare to enter the workforce, I hope to someday be able to give back to the community in the way they have given to me."
Derek Arnold, a senior, attends the University of Pittsburgh where he is majoring in Accounting and Business Information Systems. He was awarded a $10,000 Big Joe Scholarship. His mom, Lori Arnold, works for Sheetz in Hollidaysburg, Pa.
In college, Arnold is active on the Student Government Board, Beta Theta Pi, Phi Beta Lambda, a business society; and the Pitt Pathfinders. He is also a Thomas R. and Laura Ridge Scholarship recipient.
Kinsey Birch, Statesville, NC
"I am extremely grateful to have been selected for this award. I am proud and excited that I am bale to make my mother and, hopefully the Big Joe Scholarship committee, proud of my hard work."
Kinsey Birch will enter her freshman year at the University of North Carolina at Ashville this month. She plans to major in Accounting. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. Her mother, Tammy Birch, works for Sheetz in Statesville, North Carolina.
The South Iredell High School graduate served as president of Future Business Leaders of America, a member of the National Honors Society, National French Honor Society and National Technical Honors Society; Beta Club and the Art Club.
Nicolette Diehl, Stoystown, PA
"I am honored to be chosen to be a recipient of the Big Joe Scholarship. This scholarship will greatly aid in funding my education as I pursue my PharmD at the University of Pittsburgh."
Nicolette Diehl is a pharmacy graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. Her father David Diehl works for Sheetz in Claysburg, Pennsylvania.
At Pitt, Dieh holds leadership roles with the American Pharmacists Association (APA), Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA), and Lambda Kappa Sigma. She was the 2016 OTC statewide competition winner for PPA and the LKS Ruth Davies Flaherty Service award winner in 2016.
Gina Harvey, Hollidaysburg, PA
"Extremely excited! I was jumping up and down and hugging everyone. Mostly, I am thankful and relieved, paying that bill was going to be difficult. Thanks to Sheetz' generosity I can relax and enjoy college a lot more."
Gina Harvey will enter Clarks Summit University, South Abington Township, Pennsylvania, this month where she plans to study Business Administration with a minor in Theater – Communications. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. Her father, Eugene Harvey, works for Sheetz in Claysburg, Pa.
The Cambria County Christian School graduate was active in the school play "Alice in Wonderland", and served as captain of both the basketball and soccer teams. She was named Western Division All-star for basketball for 2015, 2016 and 2017; and for soccer in 2016.
She also won scholarships from Ebensburg Rotary, VFW and the Deets Creek Memorial Scholarship.
Alexis Hicks, Altoona, PA
"I am overwhelmed and extremely grateful to receive the Big Joe Scholarship out of the many qualified candidates who applied for the award. I'm proud to represent both Sheetz and Penn State in our community and will continue volunteering after graduation. Thank you Sheetz!"
Alexis Hicks, a senior, is working toward an Accounting degree at Penn State University. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. Her parents Rashel and Andrew Hicks both work for Sheetz.
The Dean's List student is active in Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting fraternity; the Accounting Society, and a member of the Penn State Lyrical Line Dance Company. She also voluteers for PSU Thon Canning, Canvasing and other events. This is her second Big Joe Scholarship.
Jillian Kemmerly, Columbia, PA
"I am so happy to receive financial help while I further my education in an area I love. I am also so grateful for my employment at Sheetz and all of the amazing opportunities offered."
Jillian Kemmerly will begin her college studies as a Speech Language Pathology major at Duquesne University this month. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. She works for Sheetz in Columbia, Pa.
The Lancaster Catholic High School graduate was active in the Marching and Concert Bands, Woodwind Ensemble, National Honors Society, Tri-M Music Honors Society and softball. She also attained the Bronze and Silver Awards for Girl Scouts and received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizenship Award.
Thuy-Anh Navarro, Ruther Glen, VA
"When I received the letter, I felt a rush of various emotions. I felt immense gratitude, great honored and blessed for this scholarship."
Thuy-Anh Navarro begins her college studies in Biology at James Madison University this month. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship to continue her education. Her mother, Thu-Thuy Butts, works for Sheetz in Ashland, Virginia.
She graduated from Patrick Henry High School where she served as vice president of the Leo Club, participated in SODA (Student Organization of Developing Attitudes), show choir, Beta Club and the National Honor Society.
Ashley Noah, Ridgeley, WV
"I am extremely honored to have received this generous gift from the Sheetz family. This award will not only help me to further my education, but also allow me to continue serving the surrounding community. Thank you to everyone who played a role in creating such an amazing opportunity for students."
Ashley Noah is a senior at West Virginia University where she is majoring in Biology. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. She works for Sheetz in Morgantown, West Virginia.
At WVU, Noah participates in the Pre-Dental Club, Med Life Club and is on the Dean's List. She also volunteers for Vida, an organization that provides health care to impoverished communities.
Mason Oakes, Glen Allen, VA
"I am honored to be recognized for my achievements and service. I would like to thank Big Joe for helping further my education."
Mason Oakes will enter Virginia Tech as a freshman this month, where he plans to study Engineering. He receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. His step-father, Charles DeGarmo Jr., works for Sheetz in Claysburg, Pa.
Oakes, a Glen Allen High School graduate, was active in the Math, Science, and National Technical Honors Societies. He was also a member of the Technology Student Association and served as vice president of Vex Robotics.
Jerrik Rydbom, Blairsville, PA
"I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be considered for this scholarship, and to have been selected as a recipient. Knowing that there are generous individuals who seek to assist such hard-working, involved and successful students obtain their higher education is a great feeling!"
Jerrik Rydbom starts his freshman year at Washington and Jefferson College this month. He plans to study Neuroscience. He receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship to continue his education. He works for Sheetz in Blairsville, Pa.
At Blairsville High School, Rydbom served as class president, captain of the basketball and track teams, and participated in Journalism, the Remembering ADAM anti-drug club and the National Honor Society. He received All-Conference Academic Recognition for Science and Math, All-Conference Athletic Recognition for Track and the Indiana County Scholar-Athlete Award.
Audrey Simpson, Duncansville, PA
"I'm so grateful to have been selected for this scholarship among the many applicants. It is an honor to receive this award named after "Big Joe" Sheetz, who was such an influential community member."
Audrey Simpson is a junior at Ursinus College where she studies Biochemistry and Dance. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. Her father, Michael Simpson, works at Sheetz headquarters in Altoona, Pa.
In college, she is on the Dean's List; runs for the women's cross country and track and field teams and serves as a resident advisor. She is also a member of the Escape Velocity Dance Troupe, Ursinus College Dance Company and the Brownback Anders Pre-Health Society.
Julian Warner, Hamburg, PA
"I feel both honored and appreciated to receive such support from Big Joe's friends and the Sheetz family. As a recipient of this scholarship, I will continue to prioritize the well-being of others as I perservere to put the old me out of business."
Julian Warner will begin his junior year at Pennsylvania State University as a Biomedical Engineering major with a Chemistry minor. He receives a $10,000 Big Joe Scholarship to continue his education. He works for Sheetz in Shoemakersville, Pa.
At PSU, he participates in the Pre-Medical Society, the Penn State Berks Honors Club and the Volleyball Club. He volunteers for Blue Mountain Wild Life and served as a team leader for the Reading Public Museum Design Project through his EDSGN 100 Class.
Elizabeth Weiland, Imler, PA
"Winning the Big Joe Sheetz Scholarship means the world to me in order to financially afford and achieve my educational dreams of attending college. Not only is this scholarship incredible from a financial standpoint, but also, having a support system here at Sheetz is so encouraging and inspiring to continue to work hard in my educational and leadership classes, community service ventures and extracurricular activities as I begin my college career."
Elizabeth Weiland will begin her studies in Supply Chain Management at the Penn State University, Schreyer Honors College this month. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. She has worked for Sheetz as a sales associate and as an intern.
The Claysburg-Kimmel High School graduate was active in Future Business Leaders of Amercia, serving as a chapter/region officer. She also played basketball, volleyball and served as drum major in the marching band. She was inducted into the National Honor Society, served on the executive committee for student council and participated in Scholastic Scrimmage. She also received many awards, such as class Valedictorian, Rotary Student of the Month, 2017 Outstanding Senior Athlete and the Ron Rickens Sportsmanship Award.
Rayne Young, Altoona, PA
"I am absolutely elated to receive the Big Joe scholarship. Thank you to the selection committee for making my last year of college more affordable."
Rayne Young is a senior at Juniata College where she is working toward degrees in Math and Secondary Education and French. She receives a $5,000 Big Joe Scholarship. Her father, Todd Young, works for Sheetz in Altoona, Pa.
In college, she is active as president of the French Club and participates in It's On Us, an organization working to prevent sexual assault on campus. In addition, she volunteers for Caring for Kids with Cancer.
As part of its plan for strategic growth, Rutter’s started construction to expand its headquarters office on Susquehanna Trail in York to 23,000 square feet, doubling its current size. The office campus is located on a 23 acre farm that is adjacent to the family farm, which dates back to 1747.
New store openings, remodels and changes to the Pennsylvania adult beverage sales laws, which now allow beer and wine sales in its stores, have driven the company’s third office expansion this decade.
The expansion will make space for 50 more office team members, including a Technology lab, team recruiting space and a larger architectural and engineering department. Rutter’s expects costs to exceed more than $2 million and plans to have it completed by next February.
"We have enjoyed strong growth the past few years, and it has necessitated another expansion of our corporate support team to better align with our overall growth," Scott Hartman, president & CEO, said in a press release.
Rutter's store count is currently at 68 and it has 20 more stores in the approval process or construction. Fifty employees are required to operate new stores and Rutter’s headquarters expansion will enable better support for its expanding store base.
Bunzl York presents a check to The Walter Reed Society to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. From left, George Boyd, Bunzl; Doland Miller, Izy Veguilla, Vincent Moore, Pierre Larkin, Charles Young and Scott Allen, all wounded veterans; Colonel Vandy Miller, vice president, board of directors for the Walter Reed Foundation; Carl Kammerer, liaison for Sports and Recreational Activities, Walter Reed Society; Ralph Perpignan, Jonathan Burr, and Rob Baker, all wounded veterans; Bob Plata, general manager, Bunzl York; and Rick Maier, SVP, Bunzl Northeast.
Bunzl York held its annual golf tournament on July 31st at the Country Club of York. As in recent years, the tournament benefited the Walter Reed Society (WRS) which supports the Wounded Warrior Foundation that assists our dedicated military men and women in times of need.
The annual event is attended by customers, vendors, wounded warriors and former National Football League players, who celebrated the warriors’ service to the U.S. and its citizens. The branch raised more than $5,000 for the WRS through tournament sponsorships and monetary donations. In addition, they raised $1,840 the day of the event.
Presenting this year’s check, far right, is Bob Plata and Rick Maier and from Bunzl.Plata initially started the Wounded Warriors annual fund raising event which has spread to nine other Bunzl Distribution facilities and has raised in excess of $250,000 dollars over the past several years.
Middletown, PA – The Pennsylvania Lottery again sold more than $4 billion in games in the 2016-17 fiscal year, from which it generated more than $1 billion to benefit older Pennsylvanians and paid nearly $2.6 billion in prizes to winners.
"We're very grateful for the support of our players, business partners and employees in making this the sixth consecutive year in which we surpassed $1 billion in proceeds to benefit older adults through a variety of important programs," said Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko.
Overall results of the fiscal year, spanning July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, include:
Total game sales of $4,001,035,373 were off by $134.13 million from the previous fiscal year’s total. Unlike in 2015-16, when there was a world-record Powerball jackpot of nearly $1.6 billion, there were no record jackpots to drive sales last fiscal year.
Net revenue generated for the Lottery Fund totaled $1,045,731,338; marking the sixth consecutive year that the Lottery generated over $1 billion to fund vital senior benefit programs. Reflecting lower sales, net revenues were off by $75.59 million year-to-year.
The $2.59 billion in prizes paid meant nearly 65 cents of every sales dollar went back to players. A total of 84 players won prizes of $1 million or more during the fiscal year.
More than 9,100 licensed Lottery retailers statewide, many of them small and family-owned businesses, earned more than $211.42 million in sales commissions.
Svitko noted that other state lotteries reported similar challenges last year, and added that new forms of competition have affected game sales in Pennsylvania.
"To responsibly grow sales and profits, we must modernize our 45-year-old business model and develop new ways to engage new customers," Svitko said. "If we do not, it will become harder for us to adequately support the benefit programs on which so many older Pennsylvanians rely."
For the 2016-17 fiscal year, by-category sales summaries were as follows:
Sales of Scratch-Offs games totaled $2.73 billion, down by $66.04 million, or 2.4 percent, from the previous year. These games accounted for over 68 percent of all game sales. Sales of Draw Games – including the PICK family of games and Wild Ball, Treasure Hunt, Cash 5, Match 6, Millionaire Raffle, Cash4Life®, Powerball®, and Mega Millions® – totaled $1.22 billion for the fiscal year, which was $123.10 million, or 9.2 percent, below the previous year’s total.
Of particular note: Multi-state game sales (Powerball®, Mega Millions® and Cash4Life®) fell by over $127 million, or 25.6 percent, from the prior year. Decreased Powerball and Power Play® sales accounted for $105.4 million of that decline.
The new Wild Ball feature for the PICK family of games was a bright spot in this segment of the game portfolio, generating $23.44 million in new sales.
Sales of Fast Play games, launched February 28, totaled over $55 million for the first few months of sales, reflecting the popularity of this new product category.