Over the Next Three Years Kansas will Eliminate its Grocery Tax
A move which initially was shot down in 2019 becomes reality starting on January 1st, 2023...
Kansas took the next step in aiding the families struggling to keep up with inflation. Grocery taxes in Kansas will dwindle down to nada over the next three years according to approved measures last week.
Quickly after the vote, which approved the legislation on a 114 to 3 vote in the House, Governor Laura Kelly announced she would sign the bill into existence.
“Make no mistake — today’s action is a win for every single Kansan. Eliminating the state tax on food will provide financial relief to everyone, and this bill is a good first step.”
Governor Laura Kelly said.
By 2025, Kansas will join an ever-growing group of states (33) that are not taxing groceries. The current 6.5% food tax is one of the highest in the country especially when we couple it with local state taxation.
The bill reduces the tax in a three-year process as so:
January 1st, 2023: 4%
January 1st, 2024: 2%
January 1st, 2025: Gone
“We always have to hinge maybe a little bit on the conservative side because bad things can happen. The way this is structured allows us to be careful.”
House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins said.
The current rate of inflation outpaces the initial cut of 2.5%. Kelly and others who supported ending the tax have said it could save some families nearly $500 a year. As Kelly is up for reelection, she has pushed for the elimination of the tax to happen immediately stating that Kansas could afford it. In her acceptance to sign the bill, she asked the date in which the bill is effective to be July 1st - before the election.
“We owe it to Kansans to get this done and get it done immediately.”
The gradual reduction was said to have been the more financially responsible option according to lawmakers. The gradual reduction would also give vendors some time to adjust to the changes. Republicans have vetoed two bills in 2019 which would have reduced the food tax sooner but Democrats prepared the proposal with the inclusion of other costly tax breaks.
Rep. Adam Smith noted that while the corporate tax cuts included in that bill have since become law, a food sales tax cut hasn’t. “We could have had this three years ago,” Smith said.
Democrats are making allegations that lawmakers are now delaying implementation to ensure the tax wasn’t eliminated before the November election.
“I think the question of the night is how low can we go, and the answer is we are not going as low as we should.”
Rep. Annie Kuether said.
Annie Kuether, Jim Garner, and Brian Bergkamp were the three lawmakers who voted no. “At least this is a march to zero I can support,” Rep. Stephanie Clayton said. As the Republican party’s choice to run against Kelly, Attorney General Derek Schmidt has claimed his call to action placed additional pressure on Republicans to act.
“This change will help many Kansans in the future, especially as we continue to see inflated prices on groceries and stagnated earnings among those living on low wages.”
John Wilson, executive director for Kansas Action for Children, said in a statement.
Shortly after Kelly’s announcement, Schmidt thanked the Legislature for answering “our bipartisan call to reduce or eliminate the state sales tax on groceries. The state grocery tax should have been put on the path to elimination in 2019 but Governor Kelly’s veto stood in the way,” he said.
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