TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Kansans may not see a total elimination of the state’s hefty food sales tax until 2024, under a new Senate proposal.
The Senate Tax committee unanimously approved a bill with a long list of changes. One of those changes would set the date for the plan to go into effect to January 1, 2024. That’s about one year later than anticipated from some democrats, who expected the timeframe to be much sooner.
Senator Ethan Corson, a democrat from Fairway, who sits on the committee, told Kansas Capitol Bureau on Wednesday that he’s hoping there will be room for negotiation once the bill moves to the floor.
“Part of the conversation should this bill get to the floor will be about what the right implementation date is,” Corson said. “I would favor an implementation date of June of this year.”
However, Corson said he’s excited to see that the proposal completely eliminates the state’s food sales tax. The plan is expected to save the average family of four about $500 a year in groceries.
A robust debate may come up when it’s brought to the floor. The Senate will be convening for most of next week, which gives some time for the bill to be brought above the line for consideration.
Governor Laura Kelly pushed for the plan to go through this year as part of a campaign promise. At the same time, she is up for re-election, so some could see the delay as a political move. But, Chair of the Senate Tax Committee, Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, said it’s not about politics. It’s about money.
Tyson spoke about the APEX bill that recently passed, which would bring a four billion dollar business to Kansas that could generate thousands of jobs. A number of tax incentives will be provided to the business based on performance.
“It’s the economic development bill that was $1.6 billion to one company and because of that we needed to extend the date on the food sales tax so it doesn’t send the state into a tailspin,” Tyson said.
Republicans have also pushed for a gradual reduction of the state’s food sales tax in 2019, but the initiative was vetoed by the Governor. Top GOP leaders have spoken in favor of reducing the state’s food sales tax this year, including Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The Republican frontrunner will be facing off against the governor in this year’s election.
Now, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are trying to reach a compromise and get something passed this year. Senator Tyson said it’s important that “taxpayers win” this year.
“Hopefully this year will be the year to get something completed,” Tyson said.
Meanwhile Senator Corson said the timeframe in which people can benefit from the plan should also be kept in mind.
“As somebody who has a lot of constituents with families who are trying to make their household finances work, I just want to see them get this relief as soon as possible.”
To learn more about the bill, click here.