Kansas Steps Closer to Sales Tax Rate Increase
- Jun 10, 2015 | Gail Cole
In July 2013, the state sales tax rate in Kansas was reduced from 6.3% to 6.15%. Yet thanks to an alarming gap in the state budget, there is now talk of raising the rate to 6.65%. Governor Sam Brownback (R), who approved the last decrease, now backs the rate increase.
Although the Kansas House solidly rejected a rate increase last week, the idea is still being kicked around Topeka. On their 108th day in the session, Senate Republicans narrowly approved a bill that would raise the general sales tax rate to 6.55% on July 1, 2015. On July 1, 2016, the rate for food would be reduced to 4.95%.
In addition to the rate change, the measure seeks to eliminate many sales exemptions over the next several years — although an income tax exemption for business owners would remain intact. The bill also would raise the cigarette tax by 50 cents per pack, which is expected to raise $40.4 million.
The House was expected to vote on the measure on Monday but delayed it in order to meet with Senate negotiators on Tuesday. Representatives from the Senate will have to be persuasive, as there is a great deal of opposition in the House. Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita) went so far as to call it “a piece of garbage.”
For his part, Gov. Brownback is ready to sign.