TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Kansas political candidates vying for the Governor seat are making big promises leading up to Election Day. Tax cuts seem to be a focus for both leading candidates, Democratic incumbent Laura Kelly and Republican Derek Schmidt.
Kelly recently announced her vision for her second-term, called “The Road Ahead.”
The plan features a three-day sales tax holiday in August for back-to-school items, an immediate elimination of the state’s food sales tax, and tax relief for seniors.
“I think we’re seeing Laura Kelly really responding to the Schmidt argument that she’s a ‘liberal, Biden, clone,’ saying, ‘yes, I’m a Democrat, but I’m not a tax and spend democrat,'” said Political Analyst Bob Beatty.
Schmidt criticized the governor for failing to release her plan for a second-term earlier in the election cycle. Kelly released the plan Thursday morning with just six weeks to go before Election Day.
In the first gubernatorial debate, the governor signaled her intent to immediately cut the state’s food sales tax, promising to “put a bill on the [Legislature’s] desk in January.”
Republican lawmakers rejected the governor’s initial plan for a full elimination this year. Instead, they passed a gradual reduction that drops the tax to 0% in 2025.
According to the governor’s second-term plan, her proposed tax cut would also extend to items like diapers and feminine hygiene products.
Kelly also said she plans to expand the tax threshold for social security benefits in the state. Currently, people making less than $75,000 a year have their social security exempted from state law.
“Our seniors who make less than $100,000 will see tax relief. Expanding this relief will save Kansas seniors a total of $50 million in tax savings over the next three years,” she said.
Schmidt has also pointed to his own “First 100-days” plan, which includes his “Retire Tax Free” initiative.
Schmidt promised tax relief for retirees early on. Under his plan, state income taxes on retirement benefits and savings would be eliminated.
Both candidates have highlighted the economy, as the Emerson College Polling/ The Hill poll shows that the economy is the number one issue for 48% of Kansas voters.
“The economy and taxes are just going to be an issue that we’re seeing all the way through November, and when we’re talking tax cuts, that’s something pretty good for all the voters,” Beatty said.