TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas lawmakers are considering a proposed constitutional amendment that would lower the state sales tax on food and ingredients.
The Senate tax committee held a hearing on the proposal Thursday. The amendment would lower the state sales tax rate from 6.5 percent to 4 percent in 2019 and 2 percent in 2020, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .
The amendment would not require cities and counties to lower local sales tax rates.
Kansas Democrats have considered lowering the food sales tax rate since 2015, when state lawmakers raised the rate to 6.5 percent to help address the state’s continuing revenue shortfalls at that time.
Kansas residents pay one of the highest tax rates on food of any jurisdiction in the country when state and local taxes are combined, according to Democratic Sen. Tom Holland, one of the co-sponsors of the proposed amendment.
“We provide business incentives for businesses to invest. We need to be providing incentives to families to help support them in raising their kids,” he said. “The best way we can do it is by making our sales tax, particularly on food, less burdensome.”
The Kansas Department of Revenue is still calculating the full fiscal impact, said Kathleen Smith, the agency’s director. But she said the loss of revenue from reducing the tax on groceries alone would be $128 million to the state general fund in the first fiscal year it takes effect and more than $246 million in the second fiscal year.
The proposed amendment was introduced last year and but the tax committee took no action. It was then carried over into the 2018 session.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com