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Nonprofit backs elimination of food tax in Kansas

Harvesters says inflation and ongoing food tax is hurting Kansans
Posted at 10:38 AM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 11:40:59-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to sign a bill that would bring some financial relief to Kansans.

Right now if you live in Kansas, you are paying the second highest state sales tax on groceries in the U.S., and this bill would eliminate that.

In Kansas, there's a 6.5% tax placed on groceries, while Missouri has a tax rate on food at 1.225%. Surrounding states, like Colorado and Nebraska, don't have any sort of grocery tax.

"You know, currently about 380,000 Kansans are at risk of hunger on a daily basis, and so if they can have a little bit more money in their pocket to be able to either purchase more food or to be able to stretch their budgets to pay for other important necessities like rent or their mortgage and medical bills," Sarah Biles with Harvesters said.

Biles says Harvesters has been pushing for the food sales tax to end in Kansas for the past seven years. The bill as it stands calls for the food sales tax in the state to be eliminated gradually in the next three years, but the governor is calling on the legislature to get rid of the tax all together by this summer.

"People are hurting now, inflation is high now and they really need solutions and help, we were really advocating for the bill to be implemented by July 1st," Biles said. "That's a critical time of year because we're heading into summer and that's when we see the highest need as children are out of school."

Lawmakers will be back in Topeka later this month, which could mean they could hear an alternative bill that would include Kelly's proposal, but nothing is set in stone.

Once the governor signs the bill, food that will no longer be taxed includes bakery goods and basic items like meat and milk, but alcohol and prepared foods are not included.