Vending Machine Snacks and Drinks May Be Taxed

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

That cold can of cola you buy from the vending machine on your lunch break could soon cost you a few more coins.

Governor Granholm wants to start taxing the snacks and drinks sold from vending machines in Michigan.

"It will provide us with additional revenue, nearly $30 million," says Budget Office spokesman Greg Bird. He says food that isn't considered immediately consumable, like items you buy at the grocery store, isn't taxed. For years, most vending machine food has fallen under that category. But the Governor says vending machine items are, in essence, bought to consume right away. Governor Granholm wants to close that loophole.

"We need to find new streams of revenue that will help us fund schools, universities, health care, everything else," Bird says.

But vending machine owner Mike Bahls disagrees with the Governor's idea.

"It puts vending machine owners at an unfair disadvantage. People can buy a bag of chips from the store and not be taxed, and they buy the same bag of chips from the vending machine and they would be taxed."

The vending machine owners we spoke to Sunday say adding sales tax to their products would be financially devastating for them. And they say their customers are going to end up paying a lot more for their snacks."

"Customers will see an increase in price for the things they buy," Bahls agrees.

Bird says it would be up to individual vendors on how they'd compensate for paying sales tax. But he says they shouldn't be complaining.

"They have in effect been getting a tax break for all these years."

But if the Governor gets her way, that may soon change.

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  • by Carly J. Location: Grand Ledge on May 8, 2007 at 05:15 AM
    Tax the machines and it won't be so many fat people!
  • by fedupwithmichigan Location: hillsdale on May 7, 2007 at 10:35 AM
    I wonder if Greg Bird would consider tightening his belt another notch and take a cut in pay to help our States budget. I am sick of hearing how the residents of this state, already stuggling to stay here, are going to be hit again with yet another of Granholms BRILLIANT ideas. Is she really as out of touch as it appears. Her recall sounds like our only option of saving this mess we're in.
  • by Jim Location: Dimondale on May 6, 2007 at 08:14 PM
    Loophole or not here comes another tax on Michigan consumers and another hit to Michigan Small Business. What does it mean Mr. Bird? "They have in effect been getting a tax break for all these years." They (the vendors)are not the ones to be taxed. It's the products that you want to tax. The consumers will pay the tax. The reason they(the vendors) are complaining is they are going to need to go to every machine and change all the prices to cover the tax. The vendors will have to pay the expense to make the changes. This will cause prices at vending machines to go even higher and vending sales to drop. They are going to be required to keep records for the sales tax collected for free, for the state. Then they will need to send that money to the state for free. Some may have to setup special bank accounts to pay the money to the state for free. What about all the cost to the state to change all the state owned vending machines. What about the cost to the state to collect all the tax from the vendors. Another tax or fee is wrong. It costs everyone. Michigan does not need another tax or fee. Quit giving so much money to schools and universities and "everything else." The Governors plan is not working. Michigan Small Business and consumers are being taxed and fee'd out of business and out of the state.
  • by Dick Location: Eaton Rapids on May 6, 2007 at 08:01 PM
    The day Michigan puts a tax food items bought out of a vending machine will be the day I stop buying out of a vending machine.
  • by Erika Location: St. Johns on May 6, 2007 at 06:54 PM
    Granholm has clearly lost her mind. This state needs more JOBS, not more taxes. "Recall" is sounding better by the minute. HUM, maybe there should be a tax for stupid ideas coming out of Lansing, that would surely fix the budget.
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