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State food tax hits zero

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Most food is no longer being taxed in West Virginia.

On Monday, the remaining one percent of the state’s sales tax on food was removed, completing a phase out process to eliminate what had been a six percent sales tax.  The reductions started in 2005.

As of now, there is no tax on the purchase of food and food ingredients in West Virginia.  The elimination, though, does not apply to the purchase of prepared food, vending machine food or soft drinks.

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead said he’s glad the tax, which was reinstated in 1989, is gone.

“We’ve always felt this was an immoral tax.  It was the wrong thing to be taxing the essentials of life and it’s been a top priority of the Republicans in the House for more than 20 years,” he said.

“It’s a sales tax, but it’s a sales tax on something people that people have to buy.  There is no choice and to center in on something like that and say, ‘We’re going to charge a tax just to eat,’ is just wrong,” said Armstead.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said the elimination of the food tax was possible after the state’s Rainy Day Fund reached an amount of 12.5 percent of the general revenue budget at the end of December 2012.  The phase out started under Governor Joe Manchin.

“We’re very excited that this has been accomplished and we need to move on and provide some additional tax relief to the people and job creators in West Virginia,” said Armstead.

He was a guest on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline” which is originating from The Greenbrier Resort this week for the 2013 Greenbrier Classic.

You can read more about the tax reduction at www.wvtax.gov.

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