Kelly signs law to phase out food sales tax

Gov. Laura Kelly continued to ask for an immediate end to the state's 6.5% sales tax on groceries, but signed a bill that will gradually reduce the tax to zero by 2025.

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State News

May 12, 2022 - 3:23 PM

Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, signed a bill Wednesday that would initiate a three-year phase out of the state’s 6.5% sales tax on groceries. Kelly prefers the tax on food be eliminated on July 1. Photo by (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

OLATHE — Gov. Laura Kelly took a trip to a Hy-Vee store to sign a bipartisan bill Wednesday phasing out over three years the state’s 6.5% sales tax on groceries, but would prefer the Legislature reconsider her proposal to promptly wipe out the state tax on groceries.

The Republican-led Legislature is sitting on a large budget surplus, but has been wary of wholesale deletion of the state’s tax on food July 1 because it would be viewed as a political victory for the Democratic governor and the lost state revenue could haunt lawmakers if the economy fell into recession. The governor has campaigned to “Axe the Food Tax,” which would be popular among consumers grappling with the highest inflation rate in decades.

Instead, the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill that would culminate with repeal of the state’s food sales tax in 2025. The reform wouldn’t alter local sales tax on grocery purchases.

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