TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Kansas Governor Laura Kelly will sign a bill to eliminate the state’s food sales tax in 2025 on Wednesday.
The event will take place at a local Hy-Vee in the Kansas City area. After years of debating the issue, Kansas lawmakers have finally agreed on a plan to phase out the state’s 6.5% food sales tax starting next year.
According to Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who will be facing off with Kelly for the governor’s seat in November, said this plan has given the state a “second chance” to get it right.
“The last effort was in 2019 when there was a phase out over several years past. The Governor vetoed it…then the Legislature wasn’t able to override the veto,” Schmidt said in an April interview.
Kansas currently has the second highest food sales tax in the nation. Unlike the GOP-backed 2019 plan, which included a formulaic reduction of the state’s sales tax rate, this year’s proposal includes set dates outlining when the reductions will be made.
The new plan, HB 2106, would cut the tax to 4% starting next January, then 2% in January 2024, before completely dropping off in 2025. Democrats reluctantly supported the bill, despite backing the Governor’s initial plan to “Axe the Food Tax” by this summer.
With great heartburn, I voted for HB 2106 because I support some relief over no relief at all. The caucus and I plan to return May 23 and keep fighting for a faster move to 0% than is offered in HB 2106. Kansans need relief now.House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer
The food sales tax could play a major role in this year’s gubernatorial election. The Governor hoped to fulfill a longstanding campaign promise to eliminate the food sales tax with her “Axe the Food Tax” push.
However, it was shot down in both the House and Senate by Republicans. Some GOP members have criticized the governor on her lack of action to pass their 2019 proposal. Schmidt’s team released a statement after this year’s legislation passed.
I commend the Legislature for coming together, reaching compromise, and answering our bipartisan call to reduce or eliminate the state sales tax on groceries this session. The state grocery tax should have been put on the path to elimination in 2019, but Governor Kelly’s veto stood in the way. This is a second chance to get it right.Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Schmidt’s team stated that, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Division, the food sales tax would currently be 2.9%, and would be 0% by January, if the 2019 plan had gone through.