Kansans seek relief from state’s high grocery tax

In this Nov. 5, 2015, photo, Thanksgiving turkeys are shown at a Cub Foods store in Bloomington, Minn. Richard Volpe, a retail food price economist formerly with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said one of the most effective things supermarkets can do to lure holiday shoppers is to advertise cheap turkeys whose prices tend to be lowest around the holidays when demand is highest. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Is your grocery bill eating up a large part of you budget? If so, you’re not alone.

Right now Kansans pay a 6.5 percent tax on food, like everything else.

“Food Sales tax affects everybody. Low income, high income. Food’s a necessity,” said shopper Richard Koerth.

“I think they should take it off. I don’t think there should be a tax on food. People have a hard enough time as it is,” said shopper Jennifer Knowles.

At 6.5 percent, not including local taxes, Kansas has the highest tax on groceries of any state in the nation.

“Well actually, we’re from Iowa and they don’t have tax on food up there. So it was a surprise to move here and realize that there is tax on food,” said shopper Penny Keast.

A few lawmakers are working to change that, so the next time you’re here at the checkout, that price could go down.

Bills in both the House and Senate seek to ‘bag’ those taxes.

One would only help around the holidays though. Temporarily throwing out the tax on groceries during the week before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“We know that those holiday times are important for families together, and to,  you know, have a turkey dinner or whatever it is they’re going to have,” said Senator Anthony Hensley, a Democrat from Topeka.

Another more permanent solution would take the tax away altogether. That’s if voters approve a constitutional amendment come November.

“I think it’s a good idea. Give us a chance to vote on it. It affects everybody. So yeah, put it on the ballot. It’s a good idea,” said Koerth.

If other voters agree the tax would drop to four percent next July, two percent the year after and completely disappear by 2019.

“With local sales taxes in some communities, people are paying as much as ten percent on food, and we think that’s inexcusable,” said Hensley.

But can the state afford to take an extra hit to the pocket book? That’s the predicament.

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