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Remember the food tax facts
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To the editor:

It seems devious to me that so many legislators that are running for re-election from both parties are touting the “elimination of the state sales tax on food.” I just want to take this opportunity to remind voters/taxpayers that the 6% state sales tax on food has not been eliminated, nor will it be eliminated until January 1, 2025. And you can thank the Republicans in the legislature for that.

See, a few years ago, state lawmakers toyed with the idea of cutting the state sales tax on food, but Democrat Governor Laura Kelly vetoed it. Republicans are quick to remind voters/taxpayers that Democrat Laura Kelly vetoed their bill to cut the food sales tax. What they won’t tell you is the reason Gov. Kelly vetoed the bill was that the State of Kansas was at that time in financial straits due to Republican Sam Brownback’s nationally criticized economic agenda of cutting corporate taxes and providing tax breaks to higher income taxpayers.

I wonder if, back then, Kansas would have been in such great financial shape that the $4 billion Panasonic plant would have even been a possibility. On Gov. Kelly’s watch, the state’s financial picture has improved significantly, much to the chagrin of Republicans, who have criticized her and opposed every step she has taken to put the state on a more stable financial footing. Not because her ideas were not good for Kansas, but because she is a Democrat.

Now, back to the state sales tax on food. Democrats wanted to eliminate the 6% food sales tax ... in fact, they proposed eliminating it as early as July 1. But Republicans just couldn’t see their way clear to eliminate that tax. No, they fought it tooth and nail. And what was finally agreed upon by both parties was a gradual “phasing out” of the food sales tax.

So, what we ended up with is a 2% cut in the food sales tax, which will take effect on January 1, 2023. Then, effective January 1, 2024, we will see another 2% cut in the food sales tax. On January 1, 2025, the state sales tax on food will finally be eliminated ... at least that’s the plan in 2022.

I hope that all voters, regardless of party, will keep this in mind when voting in the primary election on August 2, and also in the general election on November 8. And remember it too when you check out at the grocery store – as you pay ever-increasing prices to feed your families – you will continue to pay one of the highest state sales taxes on food in the nation. Not because eliminating the food sales tax was a bad idea or because it wasn’t feasible, but because of Republicans’ refusal to compromise with Democrats, even for the good of all Kansans.

Sharon McGinness