CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says there should be no dispute about which party gets the credit for the elimination of the state sales tax on food.

“Obviously, it’s the Democrats that took it off.  We were the ones who had the plan to take it off responsibly, one cent per year,” said Tomblin.  Any other way, he said, would have put the state’s budget in jeopardy.

“I think you’ve got to be responsible when you start taking a shot of $27 million a year out of the general revenue budget.  You try to take six times $27 (million), that’s a heck of chunk to come out of the budget.”

The last one percent of what had been a six percent tax on most food items was removed on July 1.  It was the final part of a phase out process that started back in 2005 under Governor Joe Manchin.

Throughout the week, state Democratic and Republican leaders have been going back and forth about which party is responsible for taking the tax to zero.

Republicans have said they’ve pushed for the removal of the tax for more than 20 years.

The six percent food tax was reinstated under Governor Gaston Caperton, a Democrat, in 1989 after he inherited a list of state financial problems from Governor Arch Moore, a Republican.  Tomblin was a member of the state Senate at the time.

He said the important thing now is that the tax is gone.  “We plan on keeping it off,” said Tomblin.

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  • Big John

    West Virginia needs a third party. Democrats believe in taxing us to death while the republicans believe that any family making more than $ 100000.00 should pay no taxes. West Virginia is higher than all surrounding states in taxes, car tax, privilge tax on vehicles, gas taxes, proprty taxes(except Pa), homestead exemption-Look it up if you are unaware of taxes paid here. State income tax is another high dollar amount. Taxes can be reduced if we use the Billion Dollars in the rainy day fund,

  • Gary Kephart

    Sorry i saw that i made a mistake President Clinton was in charge in 92 thru 2000. The most robust economy ever. Then President Bush and then what happened? Country shortly thereafter took economic decline. Because of unfundedtax reductions drug discounts unfunded.

  • Gary Kephart

    Lets look for the reasons for that. As i said two unfunded wars, reduced prices fordrugs for seniors ( also unfunded ). Tax reduction that weren`t paid for. Now who was in charge of both houses of congress. REPUBLICANS, you seemed to have forgotten that. And if President Bil Clinton hadnt been prez then. Country would have been destroyed. I remember nobody complaining then

  • ConservativeRealist

    Nationally, amounts paid to SNAP program beneficiaries rose from $28.6 billion in 2005 to $74.6 billion in 2012 - so much for "Hope & Change". In West Virginia, one in five residents are in the SNAP program with an average benefit of $1.34 per meal paid out = 352,000 X 3 (meals per day - federal claculation) X 365 days per year X $1.34 = $516,489,600.00 annually. (Source:

    Once the Democrats realize that, if they reinstate the food tax to 6%, they can recoup nearly $31,000,000.00 annually on the back of the SNAP program funded by the feds, they will pounce like a rat on a Cheetoh...they have never been ones to let any type of federal pork get away...

    • Gary Kephart

      Maybe stupid right should put jobs as a priority instead of trying to bring down president. Americans working will do more for the debt than constant gotcha politics. Will it change? No, fools will cut there nose of despite the obvious

      • ConservativeRealist

        Gary, perhaps you missed the period when the Dems had control of both houses of Congress and Obama in the White House - the same period when the welfare rolls soared. And lets talk about Obama's energy plan that will kill an estimated 25,000 West Virginia coal related jobs...

        OH, AND LEST WE FORGET!!! That the Dems have been in control of West Virginia since the 1930s and we are last in just about every socially measurable category from education to job growth and creation. Who are the fools that you are referring to sir? Please enlighten us all on these great jobs programs that the Dems are stifled in implementing...I am anxious to hear...

  • wardog10

    Does it really matter who gets the credit? What matters is there is no more tax on something that shouldn't have been taxed in the first place. If politicians would quit worrying about who did what and work as a team then we would get more stuff done!

  • JohnNWV

    This is ridiculous. That would be the same as a burglar returning items he stole and claiming what a good guy he was.

  • jwg66

    Or if they can't blame Bush, they can always investigate it for eternity and name no lead investigator.... Or send the investigation to the State Department, IRS or Attorney General who would not remember anything about it.....

  • CaptainQ

    I'm fine with the Dems taking credit for removing the Food Tax IF they'd take the proper credit for CREATING and then INCREASING the Food Tax in the first place!

    And I will also expect for the Dems to take the same credit/blame when the Food Tax is restored in the near future (due to scrambling for funds for ObamaCare). Of course, they won't do that, they'll do what all good Democrats in America do in a similar situation: Blame Bush!

    • Gary Kephart

      Why not? Bush and Repugs put us in situation country is in. Two unfunded wars. Patriot act. Need i say more. Ah yes bushes illigit first term.

      • CaptainQ

        Can't blame Bush or the GOP for Obamacare, Gary.

        ObamaCare is 100% a Democratic Party creation. Even though not a single Republican in Congress voted for it, I'm sure if ObamaCare turns out to be the dumpster fire that it's expected to be, I'm sure the Obama Administration will FIND/FABRICATE a way to blame it on the GOP.

        Good luck selling THAT to the America public!

    • ConservativeRealist

      Well said...

  • Magic Mike

    Tomblin needs to go.

    • Big John

      How can we get rid of him?

      • CaptainQ

        Offer him a cabinet job in the Obama Administration?

  • C. F. T.

    How trite?, our Gov. bickering over whom should get credit, he and the Dem.'s did not want to reduce/eliminate when the proposal first was introduced by the Rep. if we had an Gov. with class who would not be involved with such petty crap, thank all persons who made it happen and honor the citizens of WV.

  • steve

    Oh Earl Ray, put away your putter; there is a whole new reality out there. Good try; no cigar! Dems just raise taxes, ask Gaston.

  • Michael

    Actually, they should have left the tax alone or at least leave it at 3% or 4%. If they think that saving $3 or $4 at the market once a week is going to enhance the economy in other areas they are wrong. I haven't noticed any difference sicne when it was 6%. Those that may see a difference are already using stamps or other government assistance. All this did was take a large sum of money out of the budget. Neither should be too proud.

    • Gary Kephart

      Thank God, food tax gone. And all conservatives can say is it was there idea for 20-years. Guess what you lose again. Another BS story from the losing side.

      • ConservativeRealist

        It was the Governor who chimed in and "officially" claimed credit for its abolition in the name of the Democratic Party...

        The Republicans didn't "lose" - it took them 20 years of brow beating but the tax was repealed. I suggest you read the Legislative record and assert your position with facts rather than diatribe...

    • bulldog95

      Those that use food stamps didnt pay the tax anyway. There is a button on the cash registers that removed the tax and they paid face value.

      That extra 3 to 4 a week that it saves me is going straight to the gas tank, so yea, I noticed a difference.

  • thornton

    Is it better to invent the umbrella or open it?

    But really, why expect an honest answer from any politico?
    Ran out of small talk about golf?

  • Ray Hunter

    What a crock, originally the Dems did not want to remove it at all! Phasing it out was a compromise.

    • Kevin

      Who cares ,, the tax is elimanated ,, be happy

  • Tim C

    I'm glad to give the Dems credit for removing the food tax. That's the first tax they have ever removed from our overburdened household budget. Try tackling that gas tax tax that is one of the highest in the country next?