Politicians in Kansas are expressing bipartisan support to cut the state’s food tax in an effort to combat rising food prices caused in part by inflation, reports Just the News. Accordingly, several other of the 14 states that have a food or grocery tax are also seeking to cut the tax.
In early November, Kansas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly announced her “Axe the Food Tax” plan, which would eliminate the state’s 6.5% tax on groceries.
“For too long, Kansans have been paying more for groceries than people in almost every other state,” Gov. Kelly said at the time. “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,” she added.
According to Gov. Kelly, the plan would make it so that a “Kansas family of four will save an average of $500 or more on their grocery bill every year.”
The desire to cut taxes on groceries has been expressed by Gov. Kelly’s gubernatorial opponent, current Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, as well.
But, Schmidt was quick to point out that this idea is not new, and that Gov. Kelly has not acted upon it since coming into office despite promising to do so in 2018.
“This issue has had bipartisan support since long before Laura Kelly was governor,” Schmidt recently told The Topeka Capital-Journal. “It’s true that then-candidate Kelly campaigned on this in 2018, and it’s also true that three years into her administration she has completely failed to deliver on that promise.”
More recently, rising food prices have only exacerbated the state’s high food tax. As reported by Just The News, “the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index shows a 5.4% increase in the cost of goods since September 2020. The meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index increased 10.5%, and beef alone rose 17.6%.”
Kansas is not alone in wanting to find new ways to save state residents money. Notably in Virginia, one of the key economic issues that Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin ran on was cutting the grocery tax.
Recently, Youngkin promised that pledge would be part of his “day-one” plan.
“The grocery tax is a regressive tax. The folks that can least afford it are paying the same as folks that can afford it, so this is why I’m so focused on making sure we get rid of the grocery tax,” Youngkin said according to ABC 13.
In response to the proposed Virginia tax cut, economist Gerald Prante stated, “If you look at the typical family of four in the Lynchburg area, this would save about $165 per year with the elimination of the sales tax on groceries.”
“In the long run, with the prices of everything climbing, I think it will give people a bit of a price break,” Evangeline Anderson, of Anderson’s Country Market in Amherst, added.
And in Utah, activists are confident that they can secure a citizen ballot initiative to cut the sales tax even if the GOP Gov. Spencer Cox and the state legislature cannot work out a deal to repeal the existing tax.
However, last week, Cox told Fox 13, “We are going to to do a tax cut this year. I think there’s broad agreement on that. What that looks like? We’re working on some ideas around that.”
“Maybe a tax credit for families that will help them with food and the rising inflation we’re seeing right now,” he added.
As for Kansas, Dave Trabert, CEO of Kansas Policy Institute, reiterated that the food tax alone is not responsible for high food prices.
“Washington’s reckless government spending is causing unprecedented inflation,” Trabert told The Center Square. “That, and the high food sales tax in Kansas, makes it hard for some people to put food on the table.”
“Kansas has the second-highest tax on food because Gov. Kelly and many legislators are addicted to spending the money it produces,” Trabert added. “The food sales tax should go away, but spending must also be reduced, so the tax burden isn’t shifted elsewhere.”
Youngkin, Cox, and Kelly have all indicated that the potential food tax cuts will occur in the 2022 legislative year.
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