February 25, 2009

February 25, 2009


Jeff Perlman, Chief Operating Officer
Clark Rector Jr., Senior Vice President – State Government Affairs
Robert Kohlmeyer, Manager – Government Affairs





New York City Menu Labeling Law Loses Appeal

The Second Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, has upheld a New York City law requiring chain restaurants to display calorie information on menus. Last year, the New York State Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit challenging the law, arguing that the city law was preempted by federal law, specifically the Nutrition and Education Act of 1990. The restaurant association argued that by compelling speech on restaurant menus, the law violates the First Amendment. New York City was the first jurisdiction to require menu labeling. Similar laws have been passed in Philadelphia, Seattle and California, among other places.
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South Dakota House Taxation Committee Considers Four Percent Advertising Tax

The South Dakota House Taxation Committee considered bill that would impose a four percent gross receipts tax on all advertising services in the state. House Bill 1266 would have taxed advertisements across all media targeted to South Dakota residents and businesses, regardless of where the ads originated. The American Advertising Federation, the Black Hills Advertising Federation and the South Dakota Advertising Federation worked to educate lawmakers on the importance of advertising to the economy and jobs in the state. A Global Insight study found that advertising helps generate over $14 billion and nearly 54,000 jobs in South Dakota annually-jobs that would quickly leave the state if an advertising tax were imposed. The bill was not reported out of committee. A copy of the alert the Black Hills Advertising Federation sent to its members is available here.
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New York Assemblyman Seeks to Remove Prescription Drug Advertising Deductibility

A bill introduced in the New York Assembly would eliminate the tax deductibility of expenses related to prescription drug advertising. Rep. Richard Brodsky, D-Westchester, has introduced similar bills in previous years dating back to 2001, but they have never progressed beyond the Ways and Means Committee. Last year, he reintroduced a bill that would penalize Web companies who use personal information about consumers for advertising without their consent. The AAF opposes any effort to reduce the deductibility of advertising, because it would artificially increase the cost of advertising. Pharmaceutical companies have a First Amendment right and responsibility to provide information on the benefits, risks and availability of their products.
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Obama Spokesman Reiterates Opposition to Fairness Doctrine

Reiterating a campaign pledge, a spokesman for President Barack Obama said that the administration does not believe the fairness doctrine should be reinstated. Recently, Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell warned against any attempt to reimpose the policy, which requires broadcasters to air contrasting points of views on controversial issues. The fairness doctrine was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1987.
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AAF Holds Meet and Greet With Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y.

The AAF held a meet and greet with Brian Higgins, D-N.Y. Higgins is a new member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over all taxation issues. A Buffalo native, Higgins discussed the struggling economy and its effects on his city. Industry representatives stressed the importance of advertising as a means of bolstering consumer confidence and promoting growth. Attendees warned against denying advertising's tax deductibility as a business expense, saying that any increased financial burden to advertising would harm the economy and cause more lost jobs. AAF's next meet and greet is scheduled for April 9 in Chicago, Ill., with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill. The next Washington, D.C., meet and greet is scheduled for April 10 with Eileen Harrington, acting director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
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AAF Government Report is available to all members of the AAF. If you are interested in receiving an e-mailed copy, please e-mail government@aaf.org.

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