The Daily Mail today is reporting that a top economic expert says Governor Joe Manchin's plans to reduce the sales tax on food may lead to positive economic benfits for West Virginia.
Governor Manchin wants to completely eliminate the 6% food tax altogether. Based on the article, the Governor will propose some type of reduction at the upcoming special session.
I want to propose a modified version of the food tax reduction -- one that will not only benefit West Virginian's pockets but also their belts and waistlines. A food tax reduction that targets healthly food groups -- for example: remove the tax on fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, low fat meat, beans and other healthy food groups to promote and give consumers an incentive to make more health food choices. Base the reduction on the new/updated Healthy Food Pyramid. I have always been amazed that it is more expensive to eat health than it is to eat unhealthy.
Such a proposal would add a second reason to support a reduction of the food tax. As health care costs continue to spiral and West Virginians continue to come out at the top or bottom of every health related survey that I run across -- we need to creatively attack the health care crisis and take any steps to promote more healthly lifestyles. If Governor Manchin would take this approach to reducing the food tax he would not only gain the support of consumer groups and the business/economic groups, but also health advocates throughout the state of West Virginia.
I've not looked to see whether there are any other model states that have taken this approach -- but it would be interesting to see if this approach has been considered or taken elsewhere.