State’s reform push goes well beyond food sales tax

Gov. Laura Kelly is pushing to eliminate the state's 6.5% sales tax on groceries. She also wants a one-time tax rebate to most residents. Lawmakers are looking at a variety of tax relief measures.

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State News

January 10, 2022 - 8:29 AM

Gov. Laura Kelly’s top tax-reform priority is elimination of the state’s 6.5% sales tax on groceries, but the GOP-led Legislature intends to color the Capitol with property, income and sales tax legislation. Photo by KANSAS REFLECTOR/SHERMAN SMITH

TOPEKA — The top tax reform priority of Gov. Laura Kelly is elimination of the state’s 6.5% sales tax on groceries and she’s put a shoulder behind plans for a one-time tax rebate to more than one million residents of the state.

“My administration has taken steps to restore the Kansas economy and that fiscal responsibility has paved the way to provide direct tax relief,” Kelly said. “That relief will come specifically through proposals like axing the food tax and offering a one-time $250 tax rebate for Kansas families.”

Huge cash reserves in the state treasury opened the door to support for lowering the state’s extraordinarily high sales tax on food, but it’s unclear whether the Legislature has an appetite for surrendering $450 million annually to end that revenue source. The governor’s $445 million rebate program could prove politically difficult given the outpouring of ideas for slashing property, income and sales taxation floating around the Capitol.

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