It's Time For West Virginia To Eliminate Food Tax

1922 words - 8 pages

It's Time for West Virginia to Eliminate Food Tax

Can you recall an incident in American history involving disgruntled citizens dumping tea into the Boston Harbor? I can. This tea dumping was one of the foremost events of the revolution. Do you remember why these angry citizens dressed as Indians, stormed one of their own boats, and dumped all of the crates of tea into the harbor? The English monarchy’s taxing of the settlers’ tea caused this uprising. Right now, West Virginia’s government is levying an almost identical tax; the government is taxing the very food that West Virginians eat for survival. Doesn’t the government tax enough each year without taxing something that is required for our very sustenance? According to USA Today, "The government takes more money in other taxes each year than the average American spends on food, shelter, and clothing combined." (Armey, internet) At least the first Americans could choose whether or not they would drink tea. Currently, West Virginians do not have the choice whether or not to eat food. Why should we have to pay any more than the store charges us for the food? It is time for the legislature in West Virginia to reform West Virginia’s tax system and do away with the ridiculous tax on food.

Initially, a West Virginia food tax doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, but after contemplating the principles, it becomes more and more unethical. Ethically, why should West Virginians pay tax on food when many other American citizens do not? Consequently, a West Virginia food tax is unethical in that it punishes the poor. Every year in West Virginia, poor children go hungry because their families can’t afford to put food on the table. I conducted an independent survey involving fifty anonymous families from my hometown and in Huntington. I found that the average tax paid on food per year was four hundred and thirty two dollars (independent survey, Lambert). To many people across the country, this is not a large amount of money. In rural West Virginia, however, four hundred and thirty two dollars could be the difference between a month of healthy eating and a month of hunger for many poor families. This taxation is an unfair burden on the poor. Accordingly, Rick Staton, the chair of the house judiciary committee in West Virginia says, "I would personally like to see either the food tax completely abolished, or the rate of taxation greatly reduced" (interview, Staton). The six cents on the dollar, which West Virginia uses as its food sales tax mark, is higher than most of the other states that still charge a tax on food. Craig D. Schnuck, chairman and Chief Executive of Schnuck Markets Inc. in St. Louis, states: "Sales tax on food products is one of the most regressive taxes in America today, because those with low incomes, spend on average, more of their total income on food than do wealthy people" (Rankin, internet). Once again, poor are punished for not being rich. According to our governor, Cecil...

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