TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — Kansas lawmakers have returned to the statehouse to kick off the final days of the legislative session.
They’re planning to tackle major items, including a proposal to reduce the state’s hefty food sales tax. House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer, Representative Jim Gartner, D-Topeka, made a motion to bring the food sales tax bill, HB 2487, to the floor for debate on Monday.
“Today, Representative Jim Gartner made a motion to bring HB 2487, a bipartisan bill, out of the House Tax Committee and above The Line for a vote,” Sawyer said. “We hope our House colleagues will support this motion and work with us to eliminate the food sales tax.”
HB 2487 eliminates the state’s 6.5% food sales tax, setting the new rate to 0%. However, some Republicans have expressed opposition to this proposal, citing plans to spend responsibly.
“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 Republican House Tax committee chair Rep. Adam Smith, speaking with Kansas Capitol Bureau in January. ” … I’m trying to act on it with caution and make sure that we’re being responsible.”
Republicans have also criticized Kelly for vetoing a measure back in 2019 that advocated for a gradual reduction of the food sales tax. A proposal that was approved by Republicans in a joint House and Senate Tax Conference Committee in March also pushed for a gradual reduction once again. Under the plan, the food sales tax would be reduced to 4% next year, then 2% in 2024, before dropping off completely in 2025.
Some Democrats have spoken out against the plan, pushing to cut the food sales tax now with state revenue up. Sawyer reiterated those thoughts in a news release Monday.
“The money is there, and Kansans want it to happen,” Sawyer said. “We need to get to a 0% state sales tax on food now — there isn’t time to waste. Kansans are feeling the pressure of high inflation and high gas prices. This shouldn’t be political. At the very least, they should allow for a vote and debate. If they think it’s a bad bill, they should say so.”