Kansas candidates agree on this: sales tax on groceries needs to change

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Republican or Democrat…moderate or conservative, the feeling is mutual…there is an issue that needs to be fixed: taxes on food.

KC Healthy Kids sent a survey to anyone who is up for election in Kansas this November and, across party lines, the answers received were shocking. They found something almost everyone could agree on.

The Sunflower state has a 6.5% sales tax on food, and that doesn’t include city and/or county taxes on top, which can stretch to a staggering 11%. Here is the rub; Nebraska and Colorado do not have the tax. At all. Missouri’s is a mere 1.225%.

Candidates understand and feel Kansan’s pain and responded overwhelmingly to the questions with these answers:

  • 99% consider price when shopping for groceries
  • 92% believe that price impacts their shopping purchases
  • 100% would support a reduction or elimination of state sales tax on food sold at farmers markets and at grocery stores

Some things became very apparent after September’s survey.

There is a broad and deep awareness of this issue. Lawmakers understand the tax on food in Kansas is out proportion and something needs to be done.

Often, people running for office are apprehensive to take a stand on anything, they don’t want to be tied down or committed, but this isn’t the case with this issue.

This decision made in Topeka is hurting people all over the state. Larry Adams of Pillipsburg is on a fixed income and combines grocery shopping with doctor visits in Nebraska. Depending on his destination, it’s a 200-300 mile round trip to get more bang for his grocery buck. Read Larry’s Story

Businesses near the state line fail. Tim White of Hiawatha spent six years trying to keep his grocery store open. He found out his customers’ money would go further across the state line and his store closed. Read Tim’s Story

Karen Siebert of Prairie Village sees impact of tax on her Harvesters clients and her own grocery bill. Read Karen’s Story

Those who live in the middle of the state (or don’t have reliable transportation) don’t have the option to travel and save. That 11% makes a huge difference and can be the difference in buying healthy food.

Studies show that many rural communities find themselves in a food desert with limited options for groceries. That makes the food sales tax even more of a hindrance to someone on a limited budget – they don’t have options to shop for cheaper food.

“When state and local taxes are added to their bill, some Kansans are paying 11 percent sales tax on their groceries. Food is not a luxury item and should not be taxed as such. Lowering the sales tax on food would put money back in the pockets of Kansas consumers,” says Ashley Jones-Wisner, State Policy Director for KC Healthy Kids. There is a broad and deep awareness of this issue.

See Complete Results

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