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Archive for Saturday, September 13, 2008

Candidate takes aim at tax on groceries

Libertarian seeks repeal of state levy

September 13, 2008

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Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

Libertarian state Senate candidate Patrick Wilbur, of Lawrence, said Friday that if elected he would work to eliminate the sales tax on groceries.

"If the Legislature really cares about middle class Kansans, it is time to show a tangible effort," Wilbur said. "Repealing this regressive and unavoidable tax is a good way to start," he said.

A repeal of the tax on food would cost the state treasury about $250 million per year, according to Wilbur.

He said he believed the state could make up for this loss of revenue, noting that a recent audit showed the state spent $1.3 billion on economic development over the past five years without being able to determine whether the expenditure helped.

"Perhaps we should try and promote economic development the old-fashioned way - with a low tax burden," Wilbur said.

Wilbur is running for the 3rd District Senate seat, which is currently held by Roger Pine, a Republican from Lawrence. State Rep. Tom Holland is the Democrat in the race.

Pine said he didn't favor elimination of the sales tax on groceries.

"This is probably a difficult time to make that kind of a change when local communities are struggling to meet needs," Pine said.

Holland could not be reached for comment.

Of the 45 states that levy a sales tax, 31 have exempted food from the tax, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Of the 14 remaining that tax food, seven tax it at a lower rate than other goods, while seven, including Kansas, tax food at the full tax rate. Kansas does offer a sales tax refund for low-income residents.

An attempt to phase out the state sales tax on food in 1999 was approved in the House, but it later failed in the Senate.

Comments

Richard Heckler 6 years, 5 months ago

While this is a grand idea what then are taxpayers will pay higher taxes on....These no tax people are always willing to empty the cookie jar but not so smart as to how the bills will continue to be paid.That $1.3 billion on economic development would be a likely area to examine. Lawrence,Kansas should do the same because for all taxpayers know that spending on "economic development" is actually increasing taxes.Taxpayers need economic development to pay for itself or else it is not economic development.New roads,water and sewer lines are perfect examples of tax increasing 'economic development. WHY?Because this list below of tax increases, is normally the result of what follows new water lines,sewer lines and new roads in Lawrence,Kansas:$88 million sewage treatment plant,which in and of itself increases the cost of community services(tax increase) * Additonal city staffing and equipment water and sewer line maintenance streets maintanance New Residential (Our city's current budget crunch could easily be tied directly to infrastructure expenses needed to serve new housing developments. The community is way over extended in this regard. If residential growth paid for itself and was financially positive, we would not be in a budget crunch. But with increased numbers of houses you have increased demand on services, and historically the funding of revenues generated by residential housing does not pay for the services, they require from a municipality.)more tax increases:public schools fire stations law enforcement manpowersidewalksparks and rec centers snow removal bike trails and cross walks Traffic signals Traffic calming¢ strip Malls(in an over retailed market = economic displacement not economic growth/development) ¢ expensive flood controlIn general increases the cost of community services to all taxpayers aka tax increases.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 5 months ago

"MN has one of the highest income tax rates of all 50 states" Kansas should reduce or eliminate the sales taxes on food, and also reduce residential property taxes, replacing them with a progressive income tax. And let local governments use gas taxes to fund road maintenance, as long as they lower property taxes.

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 5 months ago

When coltrane refers to a "pyramid scheme," he really means capitalism.It's time to reduce the tax burden on all wage earners. It's time to drastically reduce the size, reach and expenditures of government.

coltrane 6 years, 5 months ago

you've got my vote !Roger Pine, wrong on coal.

Alexander Neighbors 6 years, 5 months ago

see, this is why everyone in Kansas needs to move to Oregon.Oregon has:1. NO sales Tax on Anything.2. NO Sales Tax on food.3. fruit grows naturally here all over the place. and 4.NO Sales Tax

coltrane 6 years, 5 months ago

Sorry Bowhunter ---but you are not in the 'top tier' -- and no paying a flat rate is not fair, in fact quite the opposite.one of my clients is a billionaire and she - she Chambers Family Fund - gladly pays higher rates.she is at the top of the pyramid scheme and knows it.her cumulative wealth places her far above most and allows her to have a Gulfstream III for example and consequently doesn't expect to pay a 'flat tax' sinceshe benefits from the entire economy beneath her and the benefits that accrue towards the top.by the way - she gives about $2300 per month to OBAMA.

terrapin2 6 years, 5 months ago

Having lived in Minnesota before I am all for this approach! In the Twin Cities you aren't taxed for UNPREPARED food from the grocery store but you do pay tax on food at restaurants and other convenience/prepared food like a hot dog at the Metrodome. And even better, they don't tax CLOTHING either!However they don't have it all figured out up there either. MN has one of the highest income tax rates of all 50 states which is redistributed in some questionable ways sometimes. That is why a lot of folks up there refer to the State as the Commonwealth of Minnesota!

texburgh 6 years, 5 months ago

The problem we have is that the Kansas legislature continues to grant tax break after tax break to businesses which forces local communities to make up lost state revenue. Local communities have only two places to go - mostly property tax and limited sales tax authority. Your taxes go up because business taxes go down. Kansas should remove the sales tax on food and then look at the multitude of sales tax exemptions it grants - some need to be repealed. Kansas should also look at a sales tax on services. We could eliminate food sales tax with no impact on revenue if we enacted a service sales tax. This would be a move to modernizing our tax structure to look like our economy. And it would be much more fair. Services that should not be taxed (like food) would include medical services. Keep essentials sales tax free.Let the state also reconsider business tax breaks. A new study by the legislature shows that the state gets no benefit from either direct eco-devo spending or tax breaks to businesses. You can read the report for yourself right here:http://www.kslegislature.org/postaudit/audits_perform/08pa06a.pdf It's long past time to move our state tax system into the 21st century. Let's make one that provides for our needs, gives the state stable revenue over time, and is fair to business and residents.

willie_wildcat 6 years, 5 months ago

I am glad that someone is bringing this back up again. If the state insists that it continue to tax a basic necessity why not reduce the amount it is taxed at?

coltrane 6 years, 5 months ago

i agree S T R S -the tax burden is currently unfair and removing taxation from food is what should happen the sooner the better.recently the GAO reported that 1/3 of corporations paid no tax in 2007.

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 5 months ago

It should be done. Texas has no tax on groceries. The county, state, and lots of other agencies are taxing us to the point that someday soon, we will be forced to sell our home. We worked all our lives to pay our home off, and now the governments of state, county, usd 343, fire districts, cemetery,and lots more are working hard to run us off of it. Valuations increase though our home is 23 years old and need lots of work, They are all crooks. Kansas is ultimately responsible for all of this. Taking tax off of groceries would help some, but they don't get the underlying problem. They are taxing people out of their homes. They don't care either! Thank you, Lynn

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