NYACS Legislative and
Regulatory Agenda
 
Issues of concern to neighborhood retailers serving
New Yorkers on the go -- and generating jobs and
tax revenue for New York State and local communities.
 

Require all off-premise tobacco or alcohol customers to present photo ID.

- To maximize our ability to fulfill our duty to prevent underage sales, let's take the guesswork out of determining who does and doesn't need to be proofed at the counter.Anyone who has worked in a convenience store knows how hard it is to tell which tobacco customers are under 25 and which beer customers are under 21 (the proofing ages under state law). Too often, cashiers guess wrong, don't ask for ID, and sell to a minor, jeopardizing public health and safety.

- To remove the guesswork, thereby reducing underage sales, we support legislation to require every purchaser of alcohol or tobacco for off-premise consumption to present the store with a valid ID to verify they're of legal age.

Stop inhibiting our ability to compete and sustain jobs.

There already are too many employer cost mandates, product restrictions, and other anti-business policies that stymie the ability of convenience stores and their suppliers to compete, stay profitable, and retain jobs.

 

- Reject new employer cost mandates such as a higher minimum wage, paid leave, and coverage requirements for additional health conditions.

- Offering MegaMillions and other lottery draw games over the Internet is a bad idea that would drive customers away from the retail establishments that helped build New York Lottery into a $9-billion-a-year enterprise.

- Halt the State Liquor Authority practice of instructing undercover minors to lie about their age to bait stores into illegally selling them beer. 

- The main goal of regulatory enforcement should be corrective action and achieving compliance – not punishment or revenue enhancement.

- Remove the sales tax on the portion of the retail selling price represented by pass-through tax receipts.

- "Banning" sale of certain tobacco products or alcoholic beverages we've carried for years would only backfire, driving consumers to border states and the black market, costing New York retail sales, jobs, and tax revenue.

- Government should give consumers the nutritional information they need, and trust them to wisely exercise their freedom to choose food and beverages.

Let common sense drive motor fuel regulations, for a change.

The short-sighted rush to further regulate retail gasoline storage, dispensing and pricing translates to higher costs and exasperation for retailers trying to do the right thing.

 

- In fairness to retailers, the anti-price-gouging law should be amended to assign responsibility for declaring the onset of an "abnormal market disruption" that triggers price controls, and to clearly define the ambiguous term "gross disparity."

- We oppose restrictions on street-side gas price signs that burden retailers with new costs while depriving consumers of opportunities to pay lower prices by using cash.

Protect small businesses from the ravages of excise tax evasion.

With the highest cigarette and motor fuel excise taxes in the nation, New York suffers from the worst tax evasion as well – driving business and jobs away from tax-collecting convenience stores while depriving the State of over $1 billion a year in tax revenue.

 

- Every 10-gallon fill-up by a non-Indian motorist on an Indian reservation costs New York State $5 in lost tax revenue. Indian enterprises collectively sell millions of gallons of gasoline "tax free" to New Yorkers every year. By law, such purchases are taxable. Why is our State tolerating this tax avoidance

- A NYACS economic analysis shows that half the cigarettes consumed in New York are sold without any New York State tax being collected – purchased from border states, Indian reservations, or smugglers. This tax evasion epidemic is costing our State $1.7 billion annually in lost revenue and over 6,700 jobs.

- Native American-made cigarettes sold to non-Indian customers should be subject to state tax, just as with national brands. Inter-reservation shipments of untaxed Native American-made cigarettes on state highways should be seized as contraband. Applicable taxes also should be collected on cigars, smokeless tobacco, and other non-cigarette tobacco products sold by tribal stores to the public.

No more job-killing tax or fee hikes affecting convenience stores and their customers.

Exorbitant excise taxes make New York retailers uncompetitive with those in neighboring states and on Indian reservations – driving away customers, jobs and tax revenue

 

- New York taxes on core convenience-store products (motor fuel, tobacco, beer) are among the highest in the nation. Further increases are simply unjustifiable.

- Instead, the State should objectively re-examine these tax levels to determine whether any require adjustment in order to maximize New York competitiveness and employment without negatively impacting State or local revenue, safety, or public health.

Rein in runaway credit/debit card swipe fees.

Skyrocketing fees charged by monopolistic credit card companies to New York convenience store owners for electronic processing of card payments have become our second biggest operating expense, threatening our profitability.

 

- We actively support the continuing efforts of the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Merchants Payment Coalition to address this issue at the federal level.

- We support New York State-specific initiatives to infuse free-market competition into the setting of swipe fees and interchange rules, rather than having them dictated by monopolies.