Kansas governor signs bill gradually eliminating food tax

PROMO Food - Grocery Shopping Cart Basket - iStock - Sergei Gnatiuk
Published Saturday, May 14, 2022

Chris Woodward | The Center Square contributor

(The Center Square) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has signed bipartisan legislation that will gradually eliminate Kansas' tax on food items.

House Bill 2106 drops the current 6.5 percent grocery tax to 4 percent starting in January. The tax will then go to 2 percent in 2024, and then to zero in 2025.

"When Kansans needed it most, we were able to bring Democrats and Republicans together to eliminate our state's tax on groceries," Kelly said at the bill's signing ceremony, which took place at a grocery store in Olathe.

"Because we saved for our collective future, we can now responsibly axe the food tax - all while boosting funding to Kansas schools, roads, and law enforcement," she added.

The governor's comments come after the state's tax collections were around $1.5 billion in April - 13.4 percent higher than previous estimates. 

Individual income tax collections for April were $1 billion, and corporate income tax collections $141.5 million.

Ganon Evans, policy manager and analyst at Kansas Policy Institute, previously told The Center Square that part of the increase is a rebound from lower collections last year and added that this still points to a need for tax relief.

"Kansas imposes a heavy tax burden on businesses and individuals, which hurts families and businesses and prompts some taxpayers to move to other states," Evans said. "Legislators need to get runaway spending under control and reduce taxes on everyone rather than ambitiously spend, leading to a deficit in the future."

Only 13 states charge any sales tax on groceries. The current 6.5 percent tax in Kansas the second highest in the nation only behind Mississippi's 7 percent tax.

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