08 November 2021 | Tax and Budget

RELEASE: KAC Agrees—Now Is the Time to Eliminate State-Level Food Sales Tax

November 8, 2021 

TOPEKA, Kansas — Kansas Action for Children President John Wilson has released the following statement in response to Gov. Laura Kelly’s announcement proposing to eliminate the state-level food sales tax. 

“With strong revenue projections that could lead to a historic ending balance for the state, now is the time to eliminate the state-level food sales tax. Kansans have experienced one of the highest sales taxes on food in the country for years, a consequence of previous poor state tax policy. Now that Kansas has recovered from that policy 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 stands in support of Gov. Laura Kelly’s proposal, which would help Kansas families put nutritious food on their tables. While the elimination of the state-level food sales tax will help every Kansas family afford groceries, it will have an increased benefit for low- and moderate-income families. Sales taxes worsen income inequality as low-income people must pay a higher share of their income on basic needs like groceries. 

“While the plan will be costly, Kansas has been experiencing strong revenues for more than a year. The elimination of the state-level food sales tax, on its own, does not appear to put Kansas in a dangerous fiscal position in the coming years. However, if the elimination of the food sales tax is tainted by the inclusion of expensive and unnecessary tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Kansans, Kansas will move into a precarious fiscal situation. We urge lawmakers to take action on this proposal separately from any other tax proposals that might arise during the legislative session—and do so quickly to lessen uncertainty for small businesses.  

“This is a bold proposal, but one that we can afford as long as policymakers make responsible fiscal decisions in other areas. With the anticipated incoming revenue, lawmakers must prioritize equitable and fiscally responsible policy this session, including addressing the food sales tax, allocating funding to the rainy day fund, and eliminating unnecessary transfers to the State General Fund.  

“We look forward to working with lawmakers from both parties to eliminate the state-level food sales tax and help Kansans put food on the table.”