Archive for Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kansas sales tax on groceries is unpopular but untouchable

Delores Kaczor, of Lawrence, left, buys groceries Wednesday at Checkers, 2300 Louisiana, as cashier Betty Grems, tallies the total. Kansans pay more sales tax on groceries than everyone in the country except residents of Mississippi.

Delores Kaczor, of Lawrence, left, buys groceries Wednesday at Checkers, 2300 Louisiana, as cashier Betty Grems, tallies the total. Kansans pay more sales tax on groceries than everyone in the country except residents of Mississippi.

October 20, 2012


Kansans pay more sales tax on groceries than everyone in the country except residents of Mississippi.

And legislative candidates speaking at a Douglas County forum last week showed there is bipartisan disdain for the state sales tax on food.

“A tax on food is one of the most regressive taxes we have in the tax code,” said state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and the ranking minority member on the Senate tax committee.

“Personally, I think it’s kind of morally wrong to tax a commodity like food,” said Republican Patrick Bengtson, of Lawrence, who is running for House District 44.

But what are the chances of actually getting rid of the sales tax on food?

Every year or so, there is a preliminary vote in the Legislature to repeal it, but the effort usually fizzles under the pressures of funding government, or in the case of the last legislative session, cutting other taxes.

During the 2012 session, the Kansas House approved massive tax cuts, which included an amendment by state Rep. Jana Goodman, R-Leavenworth, to remove the state sales tax from food.

But Republicans who supported Gov. Sam Brownback’s desire for individual income tax cuts and eliminating income taxes for owners of 191,000 sole proprietorships, Subchapter S corporations and limited liability companies, quickly jettisoned the proposal to remove the sales tax on food, saying it was too expensive — about $300 million — to be added to the other cuts.

Brownback has said the tax cuts he signed into law will expand the economy, create jobs and increase revenue to the state. But critics say the cuts will rob needed revenue from schools and critical social services while benefiting wealthy business owners.

State Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said she supports getting rid of the food sales tax but added the difficulty would be replacing those funds at the state and local level on top of Brownback’s tax cuts.

According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, 45 states have a sales tax, and 31 exempt groceries from the tax.

Of the remaining states, only seven subject food to the full general sales tax rate, and that includes Kansas, Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Kansas’ 6.3 cents-per-dollar sales tax is the second highest among those, trailing only Mississippi at 7 cents per dollar.

In addition, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and South Dakota allow a rebate or income tax credit to compensate poor households.

Kansas has offered a food sales tax rebate for low-income residents and those with disabilities because it was seen as the best way to mitigate the effect of sales taxes on low-income families. But that rebate program was eliminated under Brownback’s tax cuts.


Hazel Ripstra 5 years, 6 months ago

From the article: "Kansas has offered a food sales tax rebate for low-income residents and those with disabilities because it was seen as the best way to mitigate the effect of sales taxes on low-income families. But that rebate program was eliminated under Brownback’s tax cuts."

No comment necessary - this speaks for itself.

tbaker 5 years, 6 months ago

Government taxing food in the first place is wrong, probably even immoral, but what to do about taxing the so-called poor low income people. Hummm….

The state can impose a politically-motivated line in the sand (that has nothing to do with socioeconomic realities) pick winners and losers, and forego some tax revenue to subsidize what the elites believe to be the poor low income people.


It can allow the people who work for and earn the money in the first place to keep more of what is theirs. After all, the state has no money. It has to take every penny it spends from someone who earned it.

What speaks for itself here is the fact many believe a person has no right to exist for their own sake, that service to others is the only justification for their existence. They believe the best use of the State’s power is to plunder more money from those who earn it.

Of course they miss the point. The best thing you can do for a poor person is help them find work that pays them more money. The best social program on Earth is a good job, not another government hand out. Didn’t I just read an article in the LJW that says Kansas unemployment now stands at a four-year low?

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 6 months ago

"The best thing you can do for a poor person is help them find work that pays them more money."

That statement reminded me of the 8 levels of charity in Jewish thought. That would represent the 8th, and highest, level of charity (tzedakah).

The following is clipped from:

Certain kinds of tzedakah are considered more meritorious than others. The Talmud describes these different levels of tzedakah, and Rambam organized them into a list. The levels of charity, from the least meritorious to the most meritorious, are:

1) Giving begrudgingly.

2) Giving less than you should, but giving it cheerfully.

3) Giving after being asked.

4) Giving before being asked.

5) Giving when you do not know the recipient's identity, but the recipient knows your identity.

6) Giving when you know the recipient's identity, but the recipient doesn't know your identity.

7) Giving when neither party knows the other's identity.

8) Enabling the recipient to become self-reliant.

chicago95 5 years, 6 months ago

Taxes are not tzedakah. Regressive taxes do not heal the world (tikkun olam).

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

If you check the unemployment stats, you'll find that the drop in the unemployment rate is caused solely by the drop in the labor force, and that we actually have fewer people employed this year than last.

I don't know anybody who believes that nobody has a right to exist for their own sake, and that service to others is the only justification...

That idea is as extreme and odd as the idea that we should all only care for ourselves, and not give a d*** about anybody else.

Fortunately, most people don't believe either of those, and try to balance self-concern with concern for others.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

In a good scenario, unemployed people could have found jobs.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Yes, of course.

But that's not what's happened in KS, and it's important to see the reality first, rather than impose one's beliefs and hopes on it, and thereby distort one's perceptions.

Especially for those who are very inclined to believe in ideologies.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

Just thinking of improbable probabilities. Another would be that unemployed people left Kansas.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 6 months ago

Expectant mothers are eating for two, so they should be taxed twice.

WilburM 5 years, 6 months ago

They are, and will be after the birth.

question4u 5 years, 6 months ago

Kansas is the Leona Helmsley of states: "only the little people pay income taxes."

You can use all the self-serving sophistry that you want, and in the end it will come down to the same thing. It's not Christian; it's not ethical; it's not American, but it's what most Kansans support.

Who would stand up in church and say, "I believe that Jesus would want us to tax the poor and not the wealthy. Jesus would want Americans to work against providing health care for the poor and uninsured."

What true Christian actually believes that God turns a blind eye to hypocrisy like that? If you're an atheist and an Ayn Rand fan, then you can adopt whatever egocentric, self-serving philosophy you want, but if you're a Christian you have to play by the Book.

But don't worry, God is merciful and maybe he will buy the argument that in Brownbackistan backwards land selfishness, egotism, and contempt for those less fortunate are actually mercy, charity, and and love for one's neighbor as for oneself.

booyalab 5 years, 6 months ago

When people talk about "providing health care for the poor and uninsured" they mean "forcing others to provide health care". Why don't you study and work for 10+ years, all the while incurring massive debt and then provide health care for free? No one's stopping you.

booyalab 5 years, 6 months ago

What part am I making up? please enlighten me. You are right about trying to stir people up, though. Unlike you, I don't think I can change anyone's's just fun to see the outrage.

Liberty275 5 years, 6 months ago

It was a shock when we came here from Florida and found out we were taxed at a grocery store. Food shouldn't be taxed.

This is more fair than taxing food:

Do away with all taxes. Put a state-owned gambling station on every corner. Let people bet on everything. Make the odds on in-house devices 49/51 in favor of the state. Charge a 75% fee for collecting any winnings.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 6 months ago

"Kansans pay more sales tax on groceries than everyone in the country except residents of Mississippi."

And Brownback, Koch Bros, et al, intend for the comparisons to Mississippi to become ever more readily apparent.

texburgh 5 years, 6 months ago

The sales tax is the most regressive tax. The poor pay proportionately more than the wealthy. That's why Sam Brownback and the republicans love the sales tax. They can cut taxes for the wealthy (Sam's income tax bill) and make it up with taxes on the poor (Sam's repeal of the food sales tax rebate for the poor) then stick it to the poor even further (Sam's proposal to repeal the coming reduction in the sales tax). All the while, Sam's pals at Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas policy Institute, and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce will put out campaign mail and tv and radio convincing the poor to vote against their own e inimical self interest by convincing them that Democrats are "tax and spend." The truth is that the Republicans are tax and spend as we'll only they tax the working poor to spend on tax cuts for the rich.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

"The poor pay proportionately more than the wealthy" - I'm not sure how you're calculating this, but if true, you would think the poor would be in favor of a flat tax. That way we'd all be paying an equal percentage. Even if you didn't believe in a flat tax, it would be a step in the right direction.

Carol Bowen 5 years, 6 months ago

The state of Kansas has always loved the sales tax on food. Everyone has to eat. Sales tax on food is a steady stream of revenue. With the increased food costs we're experiencing, this stream of revenue is very healthy. There's no way the state will give this up.

We could push for no sales tax on prescription drugs. Or, are prescription drugs already tax free?

Katara 5 years, 6 months ago

Prescription drugs are not taxed...yet.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

Restore income taxes!

Here’s a piece of unadulterated good news: At a meeting of European Union finance ministers last week, eleven European Countries agreed to support a financial transaction tax. It’s the latest step in the truly heartening rise of a much-needed common sense reform. It’s high time that US progressives take heed, and draw inspiration.

“This tax unites Europe—from the people to the politicians, from the troubled economies of the Mediterranean to the more prosperous nations of the north,” e-mailed Owen Tudor, the head of EU and international relations for Britain’s Trades Union Congress (TUC). “Only fat cat financiers—and the politicians who work in their interests rather than the national interest—stand in the way, and across most of Europe, their objections are being brushed aside.”

I’ve argued before that a financial transaction tax is a win-win: raising revenue to avert austerity, while discouraging speculation to avert the next Wall Street-induced disaster. On this issue, fortunately, the momentum is all on the good guys’ side.

Last month, Congressman Keith Ellison introduced a great FTT bill for America. The news from Europe should strengthen its momentum, for reasons abstract and concrete. Sarah Anderson, the global economy director for the Institute for Policy Studies, argues that implementation in Europe can defang two of the primary arguments against a US FTT tax: just having it on the books there will debunk fears that a US equivalent would drive all of our trading activity to Europe.

And when the European tax succeeds, it will be harder for critics to argue that such taxes can’t raise much money. Indeed, she notes, “the people who are responsible for estimating how much potential revenue there is” have said they “will actually revise their estimate upwards” if Europe implements its own first.

Locally the city taxpayers could cut off the $400,000 spent on the Chamber of Commerce.

Donate all real estate tax dollar incentives(?) to the Grocery Sales Tax Bill of Rights Fund.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 6 months ago

--- What about this reckless spending by our conservative Sam Brownback?

--- Worker's taxes siphoned off by their bosses Thursday, April 26, 2012 | Posted by Jim Hightower

--- Where is the $47 million tax dollars that belong to Kansas taxpayers?

--- My congratulations to workers in 16 states – from Maine to Georgia, New Jersey to Colorado! Many of you will be thrilled to know that the income taxes deducted from your paychecks each month are going to a very worthy cause: your corporate boss.

--- Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center, has analyzed state programs meant to create jobs, but instead have created some $700 million a year in corporate welfare. This scam starts with the normal practice of corporations withholding from each employee's monthly check the state income taxes their workers owe.

--- But rather than remitting this money to pay for state services, these 16 states simply allow the corporations to keep the tax payments for themselves! Adding to the funkiness of taxation-by-corporation, the bosses don't even have to tell workers that the company is siphoning off their state taxes for its own fun and profit.

--- These heists are rationalized in the name of "job creation," but that's a hoax, too. They're really just bribes the states pay to get corporations to move existing jobs from one state to another, or they're hostage payments to corporations that demand the public's money – or else they'll move their jobs out of state.

--- Last year, Kansas used workers' withholding taxes to bribe AMC Entertainment with a $47 million payment to move its headquarters from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, to a KC suburb on the Kansas side, just 10 miles away. What a ripoff! Among the 2,700 corporations cashing in on such absurd diversions of state taxes from public need to private greed are Goldman Sachs, GE, Motorola, and Procter & Gamble.

--- AMC Entertainment has since been sold to Dalian Wanda Group of China. Where is the $47,000,000 tax dollars? Surely after receiving 47 million tax $$$ there must be some tool available to get this money back. The owners of AMC robbed the taxpayers by way of Sam Brownback. Seems selling would have made the tax dollar deal illegal?

Recall the 47 million tax $$$$$!

booyalab 5 years, 6 months ago

Kansas needs the grocery tax. How else are we going to compete with Mississippi for the distinguished title of "state which no one in their right mind would move to". (ok, I moved here. But I have never argued with anyone who accused me of being insane)

chootspa 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't recall the voters directly voting on that issue.

Lisa Medsker 5 years, 6 months ago

I think that's a fantastic idea. When I was in college in the early '90s, I was a vegetarian. Back then, it was a very cheap way to eat. Now, for some reason, it's much cheaper to buy high-fat, high-sugar, processed-to-death Frankenfood. (Yuk.) It seems to me that things that are locally grown and unprocessed would be cheaper to produce than things that are shipped a thousand miles, canned, packaged, or processed to the point of being unrecognizable.

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

The processed substances that pass as food are the result of an out-of-control farm subsidy program. The top 10 percent of recipients take in 75 percent of all subsidies. In order to keep the tax dollars flowing, they have to grow ever-increasing amounts of corn and soybeans. Monsanto profits from their near-monopoly on seed, fertilizer and poisons needed to keep the GMO crops alive.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

I vote my conscience, despite all the PAC money, robocalls, commercials on T.V., all the influence of money. I also eat a healthy diet, despite all the commercials, all the products placed where I can see them easily, despite the cost. What the heck makes me so special. Nothing. I repeat nothing.

The real problem is that other voters are voting their conscience, but in ways different than my own. And their shopping patterns are to their liking, not mine. Elect me king of the universe and I will solve this problem. Otherwise, respect their choices, in candidates, food choices, lifestyle choices, instead of blaming others (Monsanto, food subsidy programs) for what I might perceive as a bad choice, but they see as their own choice.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Many people are more influenced by advertising than you are.

And, I'm not at all sure that most people "vote their conscience".

You're right, of course, that people can and should make better choices.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

They do make better choices ... for them. What gets everyone so upset is when the correct choice (for us) is not the choice they make. Obviously, they must be influenced by PACs or Monsanto or the Koch brothers. God forbid they should disagree. Or that they should assume individual responsibility for their choices. No, someone has to be blamed, so let's go after the multinational corporation, or our government officials, or "the system", whatever that means.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

I disagree that everybody makes choices in their own best interests.

If they did, we wouldn't have an epidemic of obesity in this country, and all of the preventable illnesses and diseases we have.

I'm in favor of people accepting individual responsibility for their choices, of course. That would mean that I don't pay higher insurance premiums because others don't take good care of themselves.

The fact is that people are very influenced by advertising, generally speaking. If that weren't the case, companies wouldn't spend the massive amounts of money they do on advertising, all of which has to be regained through increased sales.

At Dillon's, they have store brand mouthwash that costs about 1/3 to 1/4 of the name brand, right next to it on the shelves. The ingredients are identical, and printed on the back of the container. And yet, enough people are buying the name brand product to pay for all of the costs, including advertising, and generate a profit for the company.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

"I disagree that everybody makes choices in their own best interests". Define own best interests. Since you mention Dillon's, they sell both fresh fruit and potato chips. If you buy fruit and the person in front of you buys chips, you're saying they are not acting in their own best interests. How about if that person is 100 pounds overweight, you are saying that's proof they are not acting in their own best interests. The thing is this, I agree with you. But they may not. And if it's their best interests that we're talking about, it's they who gets to say. They have the final word. They are the final authority. Not you or I. Not Monsanto or one of the Koch brothers. I can tell them to buy the fruit. Frito-Lay can tell them to buy the chips. But they are the final decision maker. And let's face it, they probably know deep down that they should be buying the fruit instead of the chips. They are just making the choice that taste beats out health. I wouldn't decide that. And it sounds like you wouldn't either. But they did. Just like "they" chose Brownback or "they" chose Bush. Just like "they" choose to drive an SUV and I ope they don't hit me while I ride my bicycle to work.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Again, I disagree.

Just because somebody thinks they're acting in their own best interests, I don't have to agree with that.

The heroin addict who wants a fix thinks that's best.

The alcoholic who wants a drink thinks that's best.


If our health care system were structured so that individuals got to take complete responsibility for those choices, including all of the health care costs associated with them, it wouldn't be an issue for me. But that's not how it's structured - I pay higher insurance costs than I would if it were.

According to my general calculations, I use a small percentage of my premiums each year.

That means I'm subsidizing folks that make bad decisions, health wise, and they don't bear the full costs of their decisions.

And, again, you can't deny the effectiveness of advertising. So, when massive amounts of money go to political ads, it's likely they'll be pretty much as effective as ads for products, given the success of companies at getting folks to buy that name brand product at close to 4x the cost of the store brand.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

You forgot the action that is least in one's best interests, suicide.

Have you ever known a heroin addict who quit, or an alcoholic? How about a person who lost 100 pounds? The point is people can and do, if they make that choice. Or they don't because they make that choice. We may agree or we may disagree, but they are the final arbiter. I have to respect their decision, no matter whether I agree or not. I haven't been in their shoes, and for me to suggest I know what's best for them is a little presumptuous. (Of course, I speaking about adults, using their own free will, and being of sound mind). Otherwise, I'm just playing God with other people's lives.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

You seem to be mixing up a couple of things.

One is the question of whether or not people act in their own best interests, and the other is who gets to make the choices.

I don't want to make decisions for anybody else, but I'm not willing to give up my right to look at the world and make informed and clear judgements about what I see.

Playing God implies taking over the decisions for others.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

You say you don't want to make decisions for others. I agree with you. But when third parties are blamed for the poor decisions people make, or more precisely, what you perceive to be poor choices, then you're making the assumption that they are incapable of making decisions for themselves. No, you're not saying you want to make decisions for them. You're saying Monsanto, or farm subsidy programs are making decisions for them. Of course, you make your own decisions despite all the noise. I make decisions despite all the noise. But they don't. And to take it a step further, they can't make decisions that are in their own best interests or else they obviously would.

I asked rhetorically earlier in this thread, what makes me so special? I'll pose the same question to you. I answered my question with a resounding "nothing". I'd like to put you on my level. I'd like to put everyone on my level, making a few notable exceptions, children, DD, etc. Let them live their lives as they see fit. They can ride a Harley with no helmet if they think that will attract the pretty girl they saw in the commercial. I wear my helmet when I ride my bicycle. Let them eat canned corn while I buy fresh broccoli. Let them drink alcohol every Friday and Saturday, while I reinvest my money back into my business. Budweiser isn't making them do it any more than they're making me do it.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't say they're incapable of making decisions for themselves - I say they should do that more than they do, and work on being less affected by advertising.

They can do whatever they like - I just don't have to agree they're making the best decisions.

As far as what makes you (or me) special, I don't like to think of myself as special either, and think that anybody can do what I can do. However, I was raised by well educated smart parents, and I've had a number of other important relationships and influences throughout my life. I didn't get where I am today by myself, without any help.

So, I don't know whether or not I'd be in this place, if my birth/upbringing/etc. had been different.

Statistically, you have to realize that advertising is extremely effective, even if you (or I) aren't that affected by it. I went shopping the other day, and the store brand mouthwash was on sale for $1, making the ratio 5/1 for name brand/store brand. Why would anybody buy the name brand, when the ingredients are identical, and they sit directly next to each other on the shelf?

Since we can't eliminate advertising, the only real solution is for people to see through it, and become less affected by it.

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

It is easy to say others should make healthy food choices; however, for those on limited budgets, healthy choices are not an option. Junk food produced using taxpayer-subsidized corn and soybeans are cheaper, so those on tight budgets choose them. Many low-income people would prefer to eat healthier food but they can't afford it.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

That's an issue, for sure. I'd be happier if healthful food was cheaper than junk food.

But, I've never had lots of money, and I've always managed to eat healthfully. It takes more work - you buy dried beans, soak and cook them instead of canned, store brands instead of name brand, etc.

deec 5 years, 6 months ago

I eat cheap myself and try to choose healthy foods for the most part. Dried beans are a great source of fiber, protein and vitamins. If a family wants to eat meat instead of beans, there aren't any good cheap healthy choices. Grass-fed beef is substantially more expensive than corn-fed.Cheap meat like bologna are full of preservatives and not much nutrition. I think there is also a social stigma attached to eating healthy cheap foods like dried beans and rice. One is often labelled as a hippie or a member of a currently-unpopular ethnic group if one chooses a bean-based diet.

Real fruit juice is more expensive than "juice" made from concentrate or juice-flavored products. Thanks to marketing, many people don't realize juice-flavored drinks are mostly corn syrup and water.

Low-income people are just as susceptible to advertising as those with higher incomes.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

Having been a vegetarian for over 25 years now, I know nothing about meat prices and choices.

But, I'm pretty sure I could find the best options if I had to, by informing myself and shopping carefully.

I tend to think that meat based diets aren't generally that healthy, although a bit of chicken and fish is probably ok.

You can also do things like bake your own bread, etc. which is really cheap and healthy (if you do it right), compared with buying bread.

I think that the most important factors are knowledge, commitment, and the willingness to spend either time/energy or money.

Get a cheap juicer, and you can buy fruit and make your own juice, I just thought.

jafs 5 years, 6 months ago

A couple of other ideas.

Eat fruit instead of juice, cheaper and healthier.

Buy the good stuff, and dilute it 50/50 with water (those juices are usually too sweet for me) - Dillon's has a nice range of store brand juice without any added sugar.

Lisa Medsker 5 years, 5 months ago

Always, always, always eat the fruit instead of drink the juice. You get all of the nutritional value, and not just the sugar. No matter how "fresh", "organic", or "all natural" a label claims, there is ALWAYS sugar or something just as bad that is added as a preservative, or to prevent a chemical change during the packaging process.
I hear you on the bit about being willing to take more time to prepare fresh foods rather than buy canned. Especially since canned food has little to no nutritional value. You would do better to drink the goo the stuff is preserved in.
However, it does seem even cheaper to buy the canned version of many vegetables and fruits than it is to buy and prepare the fresh version. RIDICULOUS. Yes, we absolutely should pay for the transport costs of raspberries in January. But why are the locally grown items twice as expensive as the mass-farmed, packaged, shipped from BFE stuff? Makes no sense to me. Is it just because it's "oh-so-trendy" now, to claim to be a "Locavore", or "a gluten-free, raw-food, organic-only, I-Only-Eat-Air" Hipster? Most of the time, those who claim to be the aforementioned have absolutely no understanding of the science (good or junk) behind the latest "trend diets". They just "heard it was cool" and are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money to be perceived to be as cool as their latest eating disorder. All fine and good, but some of us want to remain vegetarians, and don't have Mommy and Daddy's checking account to pay for it with!

jhawkinsf 5 years, 6 months ago

I don't believe that's true. I go to Dillon's and buy bananas. Right next to the ones I buy are organic bananas, but they cost a little more. I choose the regular ones. Now someone might come along and say mine are unhealthy while the organic bananas are healthier. Maybe even the ones at the Merc are healthier still. All that might be true, but it's untrue that me buying regular bananas equals an unhealthy diet. I think. But there is a choice. People on a limited budget can buy healthy foods or unhealthy foods. Their choices may be limited, perhaps to buying the regular bananas I buy and not the super organic, fair wage bananas sold at some places. But healthy options exist.

Mark Kostner 5 years, 6 months ago

I left Kansas in 1980 and have not paid sales taxes on groceries. I live in California--high tax California--and pay no sales tax on food, although they do get you on the soda pop here big time. My previous state was Nevada and we had no taxes on either one. I've heard there is a proposal to eliminate the income tax and shift it to sales tax. If they do, food should be exempted. I really notice sales tax on groceries visiting friends here.

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