Alcohol wholesale and retail sales reform remains a top legislative priority this year for the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA).
“PFMA made great progress on long-standing issues in 2017, and we will work with our members in 2018 to get our priority legislation passed into law,” said Alex Baloga, president and CEO.
PFMA plans to continue its efforts to update the state’s alcohol sales and distribution laws to allow its members to sell alcoholic beverages in any quantity at their stores. In addition, the association says it will work to create a competitive, market-based wholesale distribution system for retailers to purchase and have products delivered to their stores.
Among its other legislative goals, PFMA supports adjusting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) schedule to allow for a longer distribution period for recipients to receive their monthly benefits. Currently, benefits are distributed during the first 10 days of the month, which Baloga said can cause product shortages and staffing issues.
The association supports making taxing formula changes to vape/e-cigarettes. Senate Bill 508 would eliminate the 40 percent wholesale tax and replace it with a five-cent per milliliter retail tax on e-liquid.
Credit card skimming continues to be of concern to PFMA members. HB1918, sponsored by Representative Kristin Phillips-Hill would help eliminate and punish the use of fraudulent credit-debit card devices. It makes possessing or using a scanning or skimming device or re-encoder device illegal.
PFMA members also support Senator Mario Scavello and Representative Mark Mustio in their efforts to repeal the Philadelphia sugar-sweetened beverage tax. The legislation would pre-empt all municipalities from enacting a similar tax or fee. The association opposes increasing the state’s cigarette tax or any new or additional taxes on e-cigarettes or other tobacco products; an increase in the state sale tax or base expansion; mandatory statewide paid and unpaid leave; property tax elimination or tax shifts, and personal income tax increases.
“We urge all PFMA members to get involved in these important issues,” Baloga said. “Call, visit, email or write your lawmakers to make sure they understand your position on these issues.”
The PFMA, a statewide trade association, advocates for nearly 800 convenience stores, supermarkets, independent grocers, wholesalers and consumer product vendors. Association members operate more than 3,200 stores and employ more than 150,000 Pennsylvanians.