TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that she will be introducing a bill in the Kansas Legislature to “Axe the Food Tax,” and eliminate the state sales tax on food in Kansas.
“I’m pleased to introduce a plan that will ‘Axe the Food Tax’ and end the state sales tax on food,” Governor Kelly said. “For too long, Kansans have been paying more for groceries than people in almost every other state. This legislation will save the average Kansas family $500 dollars or more a year on their grocery bill; and thanks to the fiscally responsible decisions we made before and during the pandemic, we can cut the food sales tax and keep Kansas’ budget intact.
“This tax cut will put money back in Kansans’ pockets and create real savings for those who need it most.”
Kansas is one of seven states in the nation that fully taxes groceries. Kansas’ food sales tax rate is 6.5%, the second-highest rate in the country. Under Governor Kelly’s proposed bill, a Kansas family of 4 will save an average of $500 or more on their grocery bill every year.
The bill is possible thanks to the Kelly administration’s commitment to fiscally responsible budget practices over the past three years, causing Kansas’ revenues to come in ahead of estimates, every month, for over a year.
“This bill will not only support our families but also our many hardworking businesses by keeping Kansans from going across the border to buy their groceries,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Under Governor Kelly’s leadership, Kansas is riding a record-breaking upward trajectory in economic development. This announcement will continue that momentum, building a stronger economy for Kansans now and into the future.”
“With record investment and an ever-strengthening economy, our state is in a prime position to create more opportunity for a better future for Kansas families,” Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes said. “Without exception, this opportunity is hindered by the alarmingly high tax on food sales. Eliminating this regressive tax will reduce food insecurity and improve health outcomes for children, all while providing families further financial flexibility to save for a home, education, and emergencies. We have the means to provide direct relief to all Kansans in every corner of the state, and Senate Democrats are prepared to fight alongside Governor Kelly to get this done, once and for all.”
“Taxing a family’s grocery bill is one of the most widespread and unfair things a state can ask of its residents – a fact that’s been recognized since the tax on food was first put in place in the 1930s. And yet it’s a tax that is paid by every person in Kansas,” House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer said. “Over the years, the tax on food has been increased 10 times – from an initial 2 percent to 6.5 percent today. Throughout that time, there has been much talk about the unfairness of this tax, but until now, it’s been all talk. Thanks to Governor Kelly’s fiscal responsibility, the Kansas economy is booming, and Kansans will finally get the tax relief they deserve.”
The Governor’s bill will be introduced during the 2022 Legislative session. During Monday’s announcement, Governor Kelly called on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to get a clean bill through the legislature and onto her desk as quickly as possible.