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Road Warrior Newsletter




February 02, 2017

Dear NJGCA Member:

Thank you for reading this week's NJGCA Road Warrior!

Here is what you will find in this edition:

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE:
• Changes (and Proposed Changes) in the Trump Administration -- ALL Industries Affected! Delay in City of Trenton's Efforts to Raise Tobacco Purchase Age to 21

NJGCA CLASSIFIEDS

- NJGCA MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER GILL ENERGY LOOKING TO HIRE FOR (3) DIFFERENT POSITIONS

District Manager
Store Manager
Trucking Operations Manager

For more information, and to submit a resume, please contact: ravigill@gillenergy.com.

NEWS AROUND THE STATE

Border gas stations ‘getting creamed’ but tax hike had little impact in rest of NJ
Advance Auto Parts hit with nearly $70K in state fines
Major Recall for U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.
N.J. fails to reduce tobacco use, report says

TRAINING CLASS SCHEDULE!
• ENTIRE Emission Repair Technician Training Starts Feb. 14
• Emissions Inspector Training - ONE DAY ONLY - Feb. 23rd

MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE BOARD
• ATS Environmental: Confidence in your Tank & Compliance Testing

• Bellomo Fuel: Exceptional Service, Aggressive Petroleum Marketing
Gill Energy: Getting you There!
TMP Energy Solutions: Another Way to Save On Your Energy Bills

POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC
• Participate in the NJGCA PAC today and help us keep our Agenda rolling in Trenton!

*NEW*Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices

JOIN NJGCA ON FACEBOOK -- CLICK HERE

TO SEE OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL -- CLICK HERE

                                                                                                                                                                 

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE: GREETINGS & SAL-UTATIONS!


DELAY IN CITY OF TRENTON’S EFFORTS TO RAISE TOBACCO PURCHASE AGE TO 21
CHANGES (AND PROPOSED CHANGES) IN THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
THESE ISSUES AFFECT GASOLINE, CONVENIENCE STORE, AND AUTO REPAIR BUSINESSES

First I would like to apologize for not sending the Road Warrior last week.  From time to time my schedule keeps me from finding sufficient time to pen a weekly newsletter, and last week was one of those times.
 
In the beginning of the year we received news that one of the City of Trenton’s first actions in the New Year would be an effort to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21 years old.  A hearing was scheduled for earlier this week, and I was prepared to get beat up and insulted like I always do, by these municipal governments which accuse me of representing “big tobacco” as opposed to the small business owners whom I actually represent. I’ve stated before how insulting some local officials have been to me when I’ve testified at the public portion of the meeting. Some of the insults hurled at me in public meetings include “despicable” (my personal favorite), “shameful”, “selfish”, and of course “greedy”.  I’m a big boy and can handle it; in fact I smirk back and wear their insults like a badge of honor.  However, last night not only did I not receive any insults, I was actually thanked for sending letters on behalf of small business owners. Trenton City Council did not pursue this proposal, and is now introducing another ordinance to repeal the ordinance which was originally introduced to raise the tobacco purchase age to 21.  I’ll consider last night a success!!
 
Next, as you are no doubt aware, since the new President took over two weeks ago there has been a lot of talk about the dramatic changes that may be coming from the federal government. I want to give you a very brief overview of some of the issues that have come up which have the potential to affect your business most directly. While there has been a lot of talk and bluster, so far very little has actually been done, right now most of what we have is speculation about what may be done. My trusted advisor (I call him my consigliore) Eric Blomgren, who many of you have met, has compiled some of the issues being debated in Washington right now since inauguration day.
 
The President reversed the Obama Administration’s decisions to block the construction of two major pipelines, the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipelines. Once these are eventually built and come online, they should allow oil from western Canada and the Bakken in North Dakota to reach market more easily, bringing lower oil and fuel prices.
 
There has been a lot of talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but it's unclear what it would actually be replaced with. Some Republicans in Congress are acting like the dog that finally caught the car, and now doesn’t know what to do with it. The main concern is to not do anything that will leave people who have Obamacare-provided insurance totally uninsured. While we don’t know what will happen, the odds are very good that the employer mandate will never be put into effect.
 
The costly regulation which changes the overtime rule has been frozen by the courts pending a lawsuit over whether the Obama Administration exceeded its authority in making the changes they did. Either way, the leadership of the Republican Congress has specifically targeted it for repeal, and are moving in that direction now.
 
The massive Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill passed early in Obama's Administration has been targeted by Republicans for some time. There is one provision in that bill, the “Durbin Amendment”, which has led to tremendous savings on debit card fees in the last 6 years. In fact, here in New Jersey we have been advocating for a bill to enact the same legislation, only for credit cards. We will be monitoring this issue in DC closely in case there is an attempt to repeal this part of the law, an action which would mobilize every retailer group in the country.
 
There has also been a lot of talk about trade policy. As you know, President Trump is interested in enacting special taxes (tariffs) on products made outside the US. Leaders in the Republican Congress have proposed a “border adjustment tax” of 20% on the value of everything imported into the US. They plan to use this big tax increase to fund a cut to the corporate tax rate.
 
Depending on how such a tax is implemented, it could lead to significantly increased costs for some retailers. One big question is whether oil imports will be subject to the tax. This could lead to a meaningful increase in the wholesale price of all petroleum products in the US. About 40% of US oil is imported, with Canada being by far the largest supplier, followed by Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Mexico.
 
Many auto repair shops could also be hurt as a large percentage of auto parts are manufactured over the border, particularly in China and Mexico, two countries that may be hit with extra high tariffs, given the President’s rhetoric. If the cost of auto parts jumps say 20%, that cost would have to be passed on to the motorist, perhaps making it less likely they have their repairs completed at all. The President would hope that such taxes and tariffs would encourage manufacturers to simply move factories to the US. That will be very nice for the handful of individuals who get jobs at those factories, but the higher wholesale prices on products will lower the standard of living for everyone else.
 
Again, this is all hypothetical and it’s impossible to know how any of this will work out, and even if anything will be accomplished at all (remember, this is federal government we’re talking about). We are keeping an eye on all of it and will keep you informed of decisions and laws that will affect your business.  Eric and I are planning a few trips to Washington in the next few months so that we can weigh in on your behalf with some of the issues that will be facing your business.  I look forward to reporting our findings.


Thanks for reading -- See you all next week!

Sal Risalvato
Executive Director 

                                                                                                                                                         

TRAINING CLASSES!!

All classes held at NJGCA HQ -- 4900 Route 33 West, Wall Township, NJ 07753

ENTIRE Emission Repair Technician Education Program
Stop turning away work!!  The NJ Emissions Inspection Program requires vehicles that fail emissions inspection to go to a Licensed Certified Emission Repair Facility! When the new program begins, a list of Certified Emission Repair Shops will be provided to vehicle owners! If you want your business on the list, make sure you have a Certified Licensed Emission Repair Technican & an Emission Repair Facility License!
 
Don’t miss this opportunity!!  Your technician can complete the entire course in just five weeks! Classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning on February 14, 2017, from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Cost: $1,995
Emissions Inspector Training Class - One Day Only!
Want one of your technicians to become a NJ Emissions Inspector? We can help! Our one-day class will provide all the information for becoming a NJ Emissions Inspector, and the State will administer the written test the very same day at our offices!  We are offering the class: Thursday, February 23rd from 7:00am to 3:00pm. Cost $250.
Click HERE for the registration form.


FUTURE CLASSES WILL BE ADDED UPON REQUEST AND ACCORDING TO DEMAND. CONTACT DEBBIE at 732-256-9646 or DEBBIE@NJGCA.ORG TO LET HER KNOW YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING A SPECIFIC CLASS.  THIS WILL ALLOW US TO GAUGE YOUR NEEDS AND KEEP TRACK OF THOSE WISHING TO PARTICIPATE!!

                                                                                                                                                               

 CLASSIFIEDS! -- FOR SALE & HELP WANTED ADS

NJGCA MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER GILL ENERGY LOOKING TO HIRE FOR (3) DIFFERENT POSITIONS!

District Manager
Store Manager
Trucking Operations Manager


For more information about these positions, and to submit a resume for consideration, please contact: ravigill@gillenergy.com.

                                                                                                                                                             

NEWS AROUND THE STATE: THE NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW


02/02/2017:
Border gas stations ‘getting creamed’ but tax hike had little impact in rest of NJ
Despite howls of protests from drivers, NJ’s gas tax jump didn’t appear to have much impact on their purchasing patterns at the pumps – except, says the association for gas stations, by the state’s north and south borders. In November, New Jersey more than doubled its gas tax to 37.1 cents a gallon. But the two-part way the state levies the tax allows a unique opportunity to deduce sales patterns, as the 10.5˘ retail-level tax was not touched, while the wholesale-level tax was hiked. Collections of the retail-level motor-fuels tax did decline by 3% in November, compared with a year earlier. But that wasn’t especially noteworthy, as it was the fourth straight month of small year-over-year dips and was nearly in line with the year-end forecast — made before the tax hike — of a 2% drop. The experience has been different in Salem and northern Bergen counties, said Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store and Automotive Association. “We have gotten comments from our members that range from ‘haven’t noticed a thing’ to ‘this is devastating,’” Risalvato said. “It really boils down to location.” Risalvato said some stations in North Jersey corridors heavily used by New York commuters such as Route 4, Route 17 and the Palisades Interstate Parkway have seen a 25% drop in gas sales. “When I tell you 25%, I’m not kidding. Twenty-five percent. They're screaming,” he said. “Those locations are getting creamed,” said Risalvato. To read the rest of the article, click on the link above.

02/01/2017:
Advance Auto Parts hit with nearly $70K in state fines
Advance Stores Company, a car parts and accessories retailer, agreed to pay almost $70,000 to settle claims by state officials that seven of its stores violated pricing laws. The stores, operating under the name "Advance Auto Parts," sold products at prices higher than what was listed on the displays, the state Division of Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection and the state Office of Weights and Measures said. Advance also failed to post the total price of certain parts and accessories up for sale, the state officials said. "It's vital that we hold merchants accountable for the accuracy of the pricing in their stores," DCA Director Steve Lee said in the press release. "The Division is committed to taking action whenever necessary and sending a message that deceptive conduct will not be tolerated." The settlement payment will total $69,607.89, which includes $42,000 in civil penalties and $24,485.79 in attorneys' fees and investigative costs. The company also agreed to fix the accuracy of its pricing displays, start a monitoring program involving regular pricing audits in 69 stores across New Jersey, train general managers and other employees on the company's pricing policies, and choose a corporate compliance coordinator to ensure that these changes are made, according to the state officials. "Consumers should not have to worry whether the price advertised for merchandise is actually the price they pay," Attorney General Christopher Porrino said in the press release. "Settlements such as this make it more likely that when consumers visit an auto parts store they will get what they pay for at the correct price."
 
02/01/2017:
Major Recall for U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.
US Smokeless Tobacco Co. (USSTC) announced a voluntary recall Jan. 31 of about 40 named tobacco products in certain lots, asking wholesalers and retailers to segregate all products within their inventories. USSTC initiated the recall after eight customers from six states complained about finding foreign metal objects, “Including sharp metal objects found in select cans.” In a press release, Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group, USSTC’s parent company, said that in each case the object was visible to the consumer and there have been no reports of consumer injury. Complaints have been received from consumers in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The products were manufactured solely in USSTC’s Franklin Park, Ill., facility and distributed nationally, the company said. USSTC has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of the recall and said it is working with federal authorities on the matter. Click here to view a complete list of the products and lots being recalled.
 
01/30/2017:
N.J. fails to reduce tobacco use, report says
New Jersey has once again proved it is failing to pay to reduce tobacco use, according to a new national report. The American Lung Association’s State of Tobacco Control report, released last week, showed New Jersey is one of only two states that allocates zero state funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs as taxpayers absorb $4 billion in tobacco-related health expenses. “It’s a disservice to young people in not providing prevention education and services,” said Deborah Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. “Because we’ve been talking about tobacco for years, people think the problem is solved, but it’s not.” New Jersey has a poor history with decisions on tobacco-prevention funding. It has not provided any funding since the 2012 fiscal year, even though smoking tobacco remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States. About 14.8 percent of adults in New Jersey use tobacco, according to the report, and 8.2 percent of high school students smoke. New Jersey worst in the nation for state spending on tobacco prevention. The report found 11,780 state residents died from smoking-related health issues between 2005 and 2009. Instead of using that money for prevention and cessation efforts, New Jersey will use it to begin repaying hundreds of millions of dollars to bondholders, a result of a decision made in a previous administration to fill a budget hole in 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                  

MEMBER BENEFIT PARTNER MESSAGE BOARD:






TMP Energy Solutions

Another Way to Save on Your Energy Bills

We have had a number of NJGCA members successfully reduce their rate per kWh signing up through our energy saving program. We know it's difficult to collect 12 months worth of previous electric bills to get an "accurate" analysis when comparing a variable rate to a fixed rate, but we now have another option available. 

This new solution is a power purchase option; the other program is still in full force and has saved members thousands of dollars. If you sign up for the power purchase option, you will be grouped with other NJGCA members until the minimum kW demand is acquired. By pooling the member's usage together, you will be able to take advantage, as large energy users do, and receive a lower kWh rate.

Each member will receive their own contract. Each member is responsible to sign and return the agreement the day it is received in order to secure the price for their group.

Please do your due diligence, so when you receive the proposal and the agreement you will be able to make an intelligent decision.

If by chance, you still want us to assess you bills, to give you a price to compare, we will require 12 months of your most recent utility bills.

There are no bills required, but we would still like to have one bill per meter on file to check account #'s, meter #'s  service addresses and other pertinent information incase there is a problem.

The term of the agreement is for 12 months. During this term period, you will have price protection against any energy price increases along with a low fixed kWh rate.

If you are interested in becoming part of this power purchase option, please contact Greg Cannon at the NJGCA.

Remember when you sign up your energy through the NJGCA Energy Program, TMP makes a considerable donation to the NJGCA Scholarship Fund through their proceeds. This has no affect on your rate, and costs you nothing out of pocket.

We hope to help hundreds of NJGCA members reduce their utility costs by participating in this and our other cost reduction programs.  Our purpose, in the endeavor, is to help NJGCA members lower their energy costs while supporting the NJGCA Scholarship Fund. 

Contact GREG CANNON at 732-256-9646 or email Greg at greg@njgca.org. Mention that you are interested in saving money on your energy bills. NJGCA & TMP Energy Solutions will handle all the rest. 

                                                                                                                                                                        

POLITICAL PARTICIPATON: THE NJGCA PAC

DEFENDING OUR MEMBERS.
PROTECTING YOUR INTERESTS.
ANSWER THE CALL & CONTRIBUTE TODAY!!

Promoting our agenda in Trenton is of utmost importance to NJGCA and our members.

However, in order to truly affect the debate, we must ensure our friends in the Legislature are re-elected. It is for this reason that your Association has established the NJGCA PAC.

For too long, the weight of funding our Political Action Committee, the arm of the Association responsible for political donations, has rested upon a few. This is not only unfair to those few members who have shouldered this burden, but means we are not utilizing our full strength to affect the debate in Trenton.

To truly understand the importance of supporting our allies, consider our successes in Trenton:

We defeated BELOW COST SELLING
We made history in getting FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL signed into law!
We have built large support for RIGHT TO REPAIR and got it passed out of the Assembly
We defended your small business against the false accusations of Attorney General Anne Milgram
We gained wide support to move New Jersey to an all PIF Inspection System and close the CIF lanes
...and MUCH MORE!!

In each instance, we achieved these goals with the help of our friends in the Legislature!

If every member contributes just $100.00 we will be able to provide the help necessary to ensure victory for our allies. 

PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO:
NJGCA PAC
4900 Route 33 West, Suite 100
Wall Township, NJ 07753
Please make your donation payable to NJGCA PAC

I understand that times are tough for all NJGCA members, but this is just as important as any battle we have fought in the past.

We have made great progress in Trenton. I hope that you will answer the call. 

                                                                                                                                     

*NEW*Energy Information Agency Weekly Retail Gasoline Prices

Each week, the Energy Information Administration publishes a list of average gasoline prices for the previous three weeks. NJGCA will begin including this list with the Weekly Road Warrior.  Remember, these prices are for reflective of self-serve everywhere except NJ.