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Enjoy the food tax relief for now

July 6, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

On Sunday, West Virginians - and, for that matter, other Americans - got a reminder of what can happen when government handles the people's money responsibly. The state's sales tax on food was reduced by another penny per dollar spent.

Enjoy it while you can. Our guess is about three years.

Reductions in the food tax have been in the works for years. It was 6 percent in 2005. Little by little, governors and legislators have cut it to the 1 percent that takes effect Sunday. The break has been possible only because of a tight-fisted attitude toward state government spending and yes, some luck with a relatively healthy economy in West Virginia.

But the new national health care law will cost state government hundreds of millions of dollars a year to comply with a mandate the Medicaid program be expanded. For the first three years of that, federal funding will cover the added cost.

After that, we're on our own. West Virginians will have to come up with the money to pay for the expanded Medicaid program. The tab will be in excess of what the 6 percent food tax raised.

So, enjoy the relief while you can. Thanks to Washington, it may not last.



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