TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly led another push to get her “Axe the Food Tax” plan passed this year.
The governor visited the T-Rock Child Care Center in Topeka, where day care workers are spending hundreds of dollars on groceries.
“Over $500 one grocery, and over $220 at another grocery. When you figure out the sales tax she spent on this, that’s just the state portion, that’s well over $50 she spent in sales tax alone, and she does this twice a month,” Kelly said while holding a lengthy receipt.
Kansas has one of the highest food sales taxes in the nation, sitting at 6.5%. The Democratic governor is once again calling on the legislature to pass a full elimination of the state’s food sales tax by this summer.
Kelly is hoping to fulfill a campaign promise this year, as she’s up for reelection. However, she said now is the time to put politics aside.
“I wish that they would stop thinking about this in election terms and political terms … and ‘it’s a win for me’ … this is not a win for me. This is a win for these kids that we just saw here at this child care center and for all Kansans,” Kelly said. “We ought to just do it and get it over with.”
Like other Democrats backing a full food tax cut this year, the governor said it’s “affordable” since state revenue is up.
Early on, Republicans in the state hinted at spending responsibly this year, worrying about sending the state into a “tailspin” after other major investments that have been made. They’re now moving forward with a plan that reduces the tax to 4% starting next year, then a gradual reduction the following year, until dropping off completely in 2025.
“We want to take a look at the out years and the longevity and make sure we’re not going too far too fast,” said Rep. Adam Smith, chairman of House Tax Committee in January. “I’m trying to act on it with caution and make sure that we’re being responsible.”