The Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association has identified the following priorities for 2016.
1. Pre-emption of Local Paid and Unpaid Leave Ordinances (SB 333 and HB 184) — Work to pass legislation that would prohibit local municipalities and political subdivisions from passing paid and unpaid leave ordinances. All leave legislation would be implemented on the state level which would offer much needed uniformity for multi-store operators.
2. Raising the Minimum Presumptive Price for Cigarettes (Hennessey and SB 691 Mensch bills) — Provide an increase in the minimum presumptive price for cigarettes by raising the percentage mark-up from 6 percent to 7 percent for retailers. The language for this legislation is also currently contained in HB 1327 (fiscal code).
3. Alcohol Wholesale and Retail Sales Reform — Work to update state alcohol sales and distribution laws to allow our members to sell adult beverages (beer, wine and spirits) in their store locations. *PFMA is neutral on HB 466 (Turzai).
Convenience Store Permits (HB 1733) — PFMA supports HB 1733 which would create a convenience store permit for off-premises sales of malt and brewed beverages. This legislation will enhance the choice, convenience and selection Pennsylvania residents are demanding from companies and elected officials.
4. Change the SNAP Disbursement Schedule — Adjust the SNAP disbursement schedule to allow for a staggered approach to providing benefits to recipients across the Commonwealth. Currently recipients receive their benefits in the first ten days of the month.
5. Increase Retailer Incentives and Commission For Lottery Sales — Work with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, the Pennsylvania Lottery and the state legislature to increase the commission for retailers selling lottery tickets. Currently retailers receive a 5% commission on every ticket sold.
6. Creation of Commerce Courts (HB 323 and SB 1043) — PFMA supports this concept generally, and legislation by Rep. Seth Grove (HB 323) and Senator Stewart Greenleaf specifically, which would allow the Superior Court or a court of common pleas to establish from available funds a commerce court program that shall have specialized jurisdiction over appeals relating to the internal affairs, governance, dissolution, liquidation, rights or obligations between or among owners of business enterprises; and disputes between or among business enterprises relating to a transaction, business relationship, or contract.
7. Maintaining current retail application process for WIC during E-WIC transition — Allow retailers to continue to apply and receive approval for pending and future WIC applications during the transition to E-WIC by the Pennsylvania Department of Health from 2017-2020.
1. Mandatory GMO Labeling — Oppose attempts to mandate GMO labeling on consumer products.
2. Increasing the State Cigarette Tax or Instituting New Taxes on OTP or E-Cigarettes — Defeat any proposed increases to the state cigarette tax as well as the implementation of new taxes on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.
3. Increasing the Minimum Wage (multiple House and Senate proposals) — Work to stop minimum wage increases on the state level from its current rate of $7.25 per hour.
*SB 610 (Wagner — PFMA is neutral on Senator Wagner's bill to increase the minimum wage to $8.75 over three years.
4. State Sales Tax Rate Increase and Base Expansion — Halt attempts to raise the state sales tax from 6% and expand the base to additional products.
5. Reducing or Eliminating the Sales Tax Vendor Allowance — Maintain the current 1 percent Vendor Sales Tax Collection Allowance so that retailers can continue to be reimbursed for the administrative costs they incur for functioning as tax collectors for the State.