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.