Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced in November 2021 that she will be introducing a new bill in the Kansas Legislature. In January 2022, she proposed “Axe the Food Tax,” to eliminate the state-level sales tax on groceries. If passed, this legislation will save the average Kansas family $500 dollars or more a year on their grocery bill.
“Eliminating this regressive tax will reduce food insecurity and improve health outcomes for children,” said Kansas Senator Dinah Sykes. Currently, an estimated 15% of Kansas children are living below the federal poverty level.
Food Equality Initiative signed on to a letter of support, urging Kansas lawmakers to pass a straight-forward bill to end the food sales tax.
Although this is a bold proposal, the “Axe the Food Tax” proposition is possible due to fiscally responsible budget practices. These practices have caused Kansas’ revenues to come in ahead of estimates over the past three years.
“Now that Kansas has recovered and has stable revenue, it’s time to invest in Kansas workers and their families with this commonsense policy that has long had bipartisan support,” Kansas Action for Children President John Wilson said. Furthermore, he said sales tax worsens income inequality because low-income people must pay a higher share of their income on basic needs like groceries.
Kansas is one of only seven states in the nation that fully taxes groceries. Kansas’ food sales tax rate is 6.5%, the second-highest rate in the country.
So far, at least 37 states levy no sales tax on groceries and six more have reduced grocery taxes.
“The food sales tax is one of the most regressive taxes we have,” said Valerie Nicholson-Watson, President & CEO of Harvesters. “Low-income families spend a much larger portion of their income on food so the food sales tax takes the most from those who have the least.”
The proposition and letter of support are being shared publicly with legislative leaders at the beginning of the legislative session.