Kansas Considers, Rejects Sales Tax Increase
- May 18, 2015 | Gail Cole
Update: An updated version of SB 270 was signed into law on June 26, 2015. It increased the general rate from 6.15 to 6.5 percent but did not reduce the rate for food and food ingredients.
Without instituting some sort of change, Kansas could have a deficit of more than $400 million in 2016. With that bleak prospect in mind, the House Tax Committee approved a measure that would raise the general sales tax rate and reduce the rate for food and food ingredients. Then the full House soundly rejected the idea.
SB 270 would not have touched the existing income tax exemption that business owners enjoy. It sought to do the following:
- Raise the general rate from 6.15% to 6.85%.
- Reduce the rate for food and food ingredients (as defined in S.A. 79-3602) from 6.15% to 5.9%.
- Eliminate and reduce many income tax deductions.
Rep. Kasha Kelley (R), who sponsored the bill, said that she isn’t “a fan of taxes.” Yet she believes that the tax proposed in SB 270 is “the fairest tax because you are being taxed on what you purchase. You purchase a lot, you’re taxed more. You purchase less, you’re taxed less.” She also underscored the fact that the measure would reduce the rate for food (The Wichita Eagle).
Kansas is one of a very few states that imposes the general sales tax on food and food ingredients. Most other states either tax food at a reduced rate or exempt it altogether. SB 263, which seeks to eliminate the state sales tax on fresh fruit and vegetables, has not gained traction in the Senate.
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