Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has announced her plan to eliminate the state’s sales tax on food. Kansans have been paying more for groceries than people in almost every other state. It is one of only seven states in the nation that fully taxes groceries, and at 6.5 percent, it’s the second-highest rate in the country.
KC Healthy Kids has been sounding the alarm about this harmful tax since 2014, when we rallied our partners and began working with the Kansas Legislature on both sides of the aisle to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries.
“Over the last seven years, we’ve worked with grocers, economists, hunger relief agencies, and consumers to educate Kansas decision makers about all the ways the grocery tax hurts Kansans,” Beth Low-Smith, vice president for policy at KC Healthy Kids said.
As a result of this work, in October 2014, two members of the Kansas Senate — a Republican and a Democrat — announced they would pursue legislation to eliminate the sales tax on food. Republican Michael O’Donnell and Democrat Oletha Faust-Goudeau, both from Wichita, said their proposal would likely phase out the tax over several years.
“As bipartisan support for eliminating the grocery tax has grown, so has the urgency of this issue. It’s time for decision makers in Topeka to do what’s right for the physical and economic health of Kansas and do away with this outdated and harmful tax on groceries,” Beth says.
In 2015, KC Healthy Kids’ food policy staff partnered with Wichita State to publish a series of white papers showing the damaging effects of the sales tax: it drives shoppers across state lines, hurts lower-income families more, and hurts rural grocery stores.
The elimination of the state food sales tax applies to food purchased at grocery stores, farmers markets and anywhere grocery food items are sold.
According to Governor Kelly’s office, a Kansas family of 4 would save an average of $500 dollars on their grocery bill every year. That’s extra money that could go to school supplies, gas, or bills, instead. The plan would not divert resources from other state services or agencies.
Care about lowering sales tax on food? We need you to take action! Kansas Legislature is considering two bills that would reduce state sales tax rate on food.
Last night, the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee unanimously passed Senate Bill 444 out of committee. SB 444 would lower the states sales tax rate on food from the current rate of 6.5% to 4% in 2020 and then down to 2% in 2021. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
Care about lowering sales tax on food in Kansas? It is time to take action! Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1604 on Thursday, February 1 at 9:30 a.m..
Tim White tried to keep the Hiawatha Thriftway open in ways that might bring customers through the door. He welcomed community growers to have a farmers market in the parking lot. He stocked his store’s fresh section with locally-grown produce.
A report from our policy team shows that Kansas’ current 6.5% sales tax on food hurts economic activity and people’s health, especially in rural areas.
The evidence is mounting, and people in charge of Kansas’ laws have started to pay attention as KC Healthy Kids has led the charge to get rid of the Kansas’ tax on groceries.
Republican or Democrat…moderate or conservative, the feeling is mutual…there is an issue that needs to be fixed: taxes on food.
Karen Siebert knows what role the Kansas grocery tax plays for her clients at Harvesters, a nonprofit that helps provide food to people in 16 Kansas counties and 10 Missouri.