In the last legislative session those under the capital dome approved cuts to income taxes. This was championed as a move to stimulate the Kansas economy, making Kansas a more attractive state for business to locate in.
It may very well do that. However, there is a flaw in the plan. Since those cuts were approved, and cuts to programs which assist local governments followed, property tax has gone up in 87 of Kansas' 105 counties. Businesses pay those property taxes, and those moves very well could offset the reduced income tax when it comes to attracting new business.
There's another tax available to local governments which is getting ink around the state — sales tax. Both Wichita and Sedgwick County have discussed increasing sales tax. We remember the last time sales tax was on the ballot and discussed in Newton and Harvey County. It was not easy. We are still paying.
In the area of sales tax the state could do something, not innovative by any means, that could help stimulate the economy and put more money in the hands of people who will spend it. It's in this area where the little guy — the working poor — could use some real relief on a daily basis.
Get rid of sales tax on food. It can be done. It really, truly can be. No less than 37 states exempt food purchases from sales taxes. Kansas, on the other hand, charges more sales tax on food than nearly every state in the Nation. Mississippi is the only state higher.
If the Governor is serious about helping the working class, as he appears to be with his moves on natural gas this week, then this issue needs to come forward at the state house.
But don't hold your breath. The big money PARCs don't call for abolishment of sales tax on food. For the wealthiest among us, it is apparently not a big deal to shell out an extra 8 percent, or 11.15 percent in Junction City, when shopping at the grocery store. For those of us not so fortunate, it is is a very big deal. Rising food costs coupled with the sales taxes makes it difficult to stretch the food budget.
The idea of income tax reform included the old boiler plate of putting money back in people's pockets. We suggest eliminating sales tax on food would be just as effective — and would put that money in the pockets of people already living in the state.
— Kansan editorial board