Charleston, WV - House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White (D-Mingo) proudly stood beside Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin as he signed into law two bills, one reducing the food tax systematically to zero over a few years and the other increasing the percentage of severance tax money provided to coal producing counties.
The food tax bill, Senate Bill 1001, reduced the food tax to two percent on January 1, 2012 and then to one percent on July 1, 2012. The final one percent will then be removed on July 1, 2013 if the percentage of the general revenue budget in the Rainy Day Fund A is at least 12.5 percent on December 31, 2012.
"This is a reasonable and responsible approach to reducing this regressive tax placed upon the citizens of West Virginia," said Chairman White. "Working together with the Speaker and both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Delegates we were able to craft this compromise legislation to give money back to our constituents."
Chairman White was also in attendance for the signing of Senate Bill 1002, which reallocates five percent of the revenue from the coal severance tax to coal producing counties in one percent increments over the next five years, beginning in July 2012. The money will be placed in a special fund and will be available for use on economic development and infrastructure projects.
"For years, the natural resources industry and especially coal have been propping up our state economy when other states have faced downturns and uncertainty," said White. "This allows those counties, which have been producing the coal and fueling our economy, to increase their economic capabilities, diversify their developments and addresses their infrastructure needs."
The bills were signed into law by the Acting Governor on August 23rd, 2011.