Archive for Monday, January 18, 2016

Report: Kansas residents buy groceries out of state due to food tax

January 18, 2016

Advertisement

— Kansas' high sales taxes on groceries have people crossing state lines to shop, particularly residents living in border counties, and the trend is hurting not only low-income families, but also rural grocery stores and local governments, according to a new study.

Kansas lost $345.6 million in food sales in 2013 — costing the state $21.2 million in lost sales tax revenue, according to a recent report by Wichita State University's Kansas Public Finance Center. The center analyzed the latest available food sales data, which does not include last year's food tax hike to 6.5 percent, among the highest in the nation even before local sales taxes are added in. Kansas is one of only 14 states that tax food.

In northwest Kansas, 73-year-old Larry Adams and his wife struggle to make ends meet on the $800 monthly Social Security check he receives. The Logan couple has been doing most of their grocery shopping and non-food item shopping in neighboring Nebraska for about 10 years when they cross the border for doctor's appointments.

Nebraska doesn't have a grocery tax, he said. "It doesn't cost us anything extra to go out of state," Adams said of driving the 80 to 100 miles.

Of the state's 105 counties, 35 counties share at least one border with a neighboring state that has either no or lower food sales tax than Kansas, the study noted. Colorado exempts grocery store food sales from taxes, Missouri has a 1.2 percent tax on food sales and Oklahoma has a 4.5 percent tax.

The WSU study was commissioned by KC Healthy Kids, a nonpartisan, nonprofit that has been advocating for healthy living for 10 years. The study found that for every 1 percent difference in sales taxes between adjacent states or counties, food consumption drops about $101.80 per person per year in the county with the higher food sales tax.

KC Healthy Kids was looking for ways to make compelling arguments to the Legislature this session on why it should eliminate or reduce the sales tax on food, state policy manager Ashley Jones-Wisner said, and the first was equity, because sales taxes on groceries have a disproportionate impact on low-income families and their access to food. But the organization realized it needed hard numbers on the economic impact such taxes have on the state.

"We could talk until we were blue in the face as advocates, but it's nice to have some data — some substantial data from a neutral third party — to kind of substantiate that," she said.

The state's largest county, Johnson County, suffered the biggest losses with an estimated $93 million loss in food sales in 2013, the report said.

But food sale losses on a per-capita basis hit less populated border counties the hardest — especially Greeley, Pottawatomie and Comanche counties, where grocery stores are already struggling to survive amid dwindling populations. When people crossed borders to shop, it hurt the local economy, as well as county and municipal governments who impose their own sales taxes on food and other items.

"We are putting a tax on something which disproportionately affects low-income households, and it appears to cause people to move across borders to do shopping, which basically produces a revenue loss," said Ken Kriz, the center's director. "So the question is, thinking going forward, what are the goals we are trying to achieve by keeping this in place?"

Comments

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 3 months ago

Left out the Sin Tax", as long as it's in place I will continue to shop out of state. So will any other "Sinner".

brownback and the legislature really don't care if retailers are losing money as long as the 1% keep on making it.

Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

More power to you, Lawrence. With a household of one, it doesn't make sense for me to travel to Missouri, as the time and travel expenses are greater than the savings. But I would imagine for larger families, and for smokers, it's worth the trip.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 3 months ago

Correction, with a household of three! Two teenage grandsons are eating me out of house and home! LOL But I save at least a 80 to 100 a month. Well worth a couple of hours driving time.

Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

I was referring to myself as the household of one. Hell yes, it is worth it, especially given the price of gas. And a good excuse to get the hell out of Dodge for a brief respite.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 3 months ago

Sorry! I misconstrued your comment. But even for one if you do bulk buying at the 3rd of the month like I do. You still might save some money. Especially if you fill up in Missouri as well. :)

Kevin Busto 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes, they had to make it up some where when they cut income taxes.

Ohio's Governor has been on the same track, cutting income taxes, raising all of the hidden taxes.

There is a good reason why Wisconsin and Ohio are one and two in the loss of Middle Class Households.

Clara Westphal 1 year, 3 months ago

Traveling across the border isn't worth the time and gas money to save a couple of dollars/cents.

Nebraska has had no tax on groceries for years and it works well for them. It makes a big difference in the household budget. I doubt it will ever happen in Kansas although it has been discussed in the legislature.

Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

For a family of four that is barely making it on five hundred dollars per month for food (which, by the way is only fifty dollars more than a family of four would get if they were on food stamps--not exactly high living), the sales tax adds around another fifty dollars per month, which is quite a bit when you are barely making it.

Clara, I think you are a little self-centered. You are not the only one living in this world. There are a lot of human beings in this State that are struggling just to survive. Fifty bucks might not seem like a lot to you, but for many, it is the difference between skipping meals and being hungry for several days out each month.

I simply don't understand how another human being can be so callous.

Clara Westphal 1 year, 3 months ago

I do not mean to be callous. I grew up poor so I know what it is like to be poor and hungry. Every personal situation is different. For me, it would not be prudent to drive 40 miles to save what few dollars I would save. Gas money and time should be a consideration.

I live on a very limited pension so I am not prosperous. I have to watch what I spend very closely.

I hope your situation improves so you can lead the life you deserve to have. Lawrence needs higher wages and lower housing costs to improve the living conditions of hard working people.

Chuck Holder 1 year, 3 months ago

In some areas of Kansas the tax is 10%.

Chuck Holder 1 year, 3 months ago

Add city and county tax to that and it can be more.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 year, 3 months ago

And how many Lawrence residents work in the KC area already. It's just a matter of picking up stuff on the way home.

Barb Gordon 1 year, 3 months ago

Plus you can get wine in the grocery store while you're at it.

Arin Peters 1 year, 3 months ago

Exactly. I work in Pleasant Hill and live in Lawrence. It's just as easy to stop on the Missouri side on the way home from work as it is on the Kansas side. Plus they sell booze at the KCMO Costco:)

Tracy Rogers 1 year, 3 months ago

Traveling across the border IS worth sending a message to Sham and his minions, that what they're doing is hurting the State and not helping.

Jason Slater 1 year, 3 months ago

Nearly 25% of Kansans live within 10 miles of the Missouri border. It's well worth the trip into Missouri for savings on groceries - as well as gasoline (10 cents a gallon cheaper in Missouri), cigarettes (17 cents in Missouri, $1.29 in Kansas), liquor (yep, Missouri is cheaper), school supplies (especially on Missouri's tax free weekends).

Carl Edwards 1 year, 3 months ago

My father always said that you had to take numbers found in the newspaper with a grain of salt. Consider this quote:

"Nebraska doesn't have a grocery tax, he said. 'It doesn't cost us anything extra to go out of state,' Adams said of driving the 80 to 100 miles.

Of the state's 105 counties, 35 counties share at least one border with a neighboring state that has either no or lower food sales tax than Kansas, the study noted. Colorado exempts grocery store food sales from taxes, Missouri has a 1.2 percent tax on food sales and Oklahoma has a 4.5 percent tax."

So according to Mr. Adams and WSU study, apparently every state (MO, OK, CO, and NE) has either no or lower food sales tax than Kansas. By my count, there are 40 counties that are on the border. So shouldn't it read that 40 counties share at least one border with a neighboring state that has either no or lower food sales tax than Kansas, which would be all the neighboring states?

Then there's this quote:

"But food sale losses on a per-capita basis hit less populated border counties the hardest — especially Greeley, Pottawatomi and Comanche counties, where grocery stores are already struggling to survive amid dwindling populations."

Where or what is Pottawatomi County? If the writer is referring to Pottawatomie County, it's not a border county.

Where are the editors?????

Tracy Rogers 1 year, 3 months ago

News reporting in newspapers has been going downhill ever since the internet came around. They're in a hurry to get things posted/printed before people read about the same thing on facebook or blogs or whatever. Editing is a lost art.

Chuck Holder 1 year, 3 months ago

..and he also told you, you would grow hair in your hand to I bet.

Chuck Holder 1 year, 3 months ago

Time to recall the governor? I drive to Missouri for doctors appointments even though I live closer to Nebraska. People do what they have to do do survive. Thanks Sam and your gang.

Frank Hintz 1 year, 3 months ago

My wife and I moved here, from NJ, we have family here, and wanted to be near by. Please do not put all Kansans in one pot, we do NOT VOTE REPUBLICAN, why would we vote for a party that does not have our best interests at heart!!!

Angella Wessel-Myers 1 year, 3 months ago

I can not say this enough we did not vote that bastard back in, he fing cheated!

Shane Cheung 1 year, 3 months ago

Kansas is finding out the hard way. Governor Brownback is like Midas. Instead of everything turning gold, it turns to turd. May as well change his name to Governor Turdback.

Bob Forer 1 year, 3 months ago

Governor Turdback? Not bad. But how bout Governor Scatback? Not only is he slippery and elusive like a scatback in football, but is also full of BROWN bear excrement, just like Mama Grizzly of Alaska.

Bob Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

Because bringing the level of discourse down to that of an unsupervised grade-school playground is always a good idea, not.

Bob Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

Cite a post where I've been as vulgar as the Forer and Holder have been on this thread. However I will start posting about Hillary "Skid Mark" Clinton and Bumboy Bernie now that vulgar names for politicians are approved by LJW.

Tim Tribolt 1 year, 3 months ago

In Brownbackistan you throw the burden of taxes on the poor, that's regressive taxation. Instead of making the Koch brothers pay their fair share, they make minimum wage people pay an extra 25¢ a gallon for milk than someone living in Missouri. That might not sound like much, but if you only make $7.50 an hour it hits home.

Brownback promised his tax cuts for the rich are guaranteed to create an economic miracle, and "will create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business”

Not if you can't afford to eat.

Hans Besemann 1 year, 3 months ago

No state which has tried the cut taxes for the rich and corporations and we'll have jobs and prosperity has seen that promise delivered. The opposite has happened. But instead of admitting that trickle down isn't working, the claim has been you're not giving it enough time. Nonsense. Only the insane will keep trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 3 months ago

Not a true statement, as SC, OH, & TX have all seen strong economic growth thanx to favorable and well-thought out tax policies. I don't live in KS anymore, though my parents do and I always consider it home. The tax cuts instituted sound like they were too much of a shock to the system, the KS economy couldn't absorb & react to it. As for driving across the border, considering gas & time, you aren't saving that much if you have to drive an extra thirty miles (total). That's what, maybe 1 gallon for an efficient car, almost two for non-efficient? That's about $5. You'd need a grocery bill over $200 to make up for time & money. It doesn't seem worth it to me. That said, 6.5% on food is too high, especially because it does hit lower income folks much harder.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 3 months ago

6.5% is only the state tax. Add on another 4% for city and counties. Also if you are a "Sinner" You can save around $11. per carton. Besides it's the only way to get the teapubs attention.

Steve Jacob 1 year, 3 months ago

Missouri is also $1.12 a pack less on cigarettes.

Simon James 1 year, 3 months ago

The inmates are running this asylum. Nearly every government policy is designed to hurt the poor, elderly and workers of Kansas. Only the rich come out ahead and yet these chuckelheads keep voting Republicon. Get what ya vote for.

Zebulon Haze 1 year, 3 months ago

Watch Kansas law makers make buying groceries out of state illegal because you didn't pay their tax on out of state purchases . Watch them do it they really hate the poor .

Michael Kort 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes,...... the inmates are running the asylum and they are named "VOTERS" and "THOSE WHO ARE TOO IMPORTANT ( TO THEMSELVES ) TO GET OUT AND RESPONSIBLY VOTE FOR THE SAKE OF US ALL !

Here's what will happen in the next election .

The 1%ers will go out and find some slick looking candidate, who has that "stuck on smiley face look" ( like brownie ), who has more phoney morales than "thou", who only works only for the 1% who fund him,... and lies allot to the rest of us, .....who reinvents every wedge issue in the book,......who will run a last minute tv campaign full of morals attacks on his or her opponent, to galvanize the mindless wedge voters, into morally outraged voting frenzies,......and we will get the next "governor....in name only",

Not that the 1%ers are stupid.....they could easily use donated money to cherry pick an opposition candidate, who has moral, ethical issues, etc. simply by funding that person . Moralistic Issues in the closet, that would just need exploiting during an election .

Sound familiar ?

This is all theater, to me, because the people are not willing, so far, to recall a sitting governor and legislature, so it's all about the 1%ers tricking the inmates ( VOTERS ) into 4 more years of the "same old-same old", or the next new bought and sold group of candidates, belonging to and working only for the 1% .

We are lazy as VOTERS and willingly steered by the politically monied hands of the 1% .

Richard Neuschafer 1 year, 3 months ago

Pottawatomie County is not a border county. Nemaha County borders Pottawatomie County to the north. Nemaha County is a border county with Nebraska. Comanche and Greeley Counties border with Oklahoma and Colorado, respectively.

Renee Patrick 1 year, 3 months ago

It's only one county in from the border.

Mark Jakubauskas 1 year, 3 months ago

"But food sale losses on a per-capita basis hit less populated border counties the hardest — especially Greeley, Pottawatomie and Comanche counties..."

Greeley County: 68.3% voted for Brownback. Pottawatomie County: 61.7% voted for Brownback. Comanche County: 69.9% voted for Brownback.

Just sayin'

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 3 months ago

I just noticed, 38 comments and not one brownback supporter. Guess they know they haven't got a leg to stand on. LOL

Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

These right wingers will increase the cost of fees,rates etc etc etc pretending a fee or a rate is not a tax.

While they pretend not to increase taxes that is nothing but nonsense. Supply Side economics for 36 years cut funds off to communities in a variety of ways leaving the communities to increase taxes or whatever to cover the loss OF OUR TAX DOLLARS due to the irresponsibility or reckless money management of the RINO party.

I have yet to see the cost of a RINO Supply Side government cost taxpayers less. So where is the money going? Corporate cookie jars in which some is likely flowing back into campaign cookie jars.

Bob Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

Richard, you are way over on the left-hand side of the aisle. What qualifies you to decide who is or is not a true Republican?

Greg Cooper 1 year, 3 months ago

If you'd bother to actually read his comments, you'd have a clear idea as to who he is speaking about.

Bob Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

Blame the Democrats for nominating a train wreck candidate for governor last go-around.

Lawrence Freeman 1 year, 3 months ago

LOL Kansas is a fiscal train wreck because they couldn't vote in a democratic governor? Well you are at least partially right. The republican's own all the blame!

Richard Aronoff 1 year, 2 months ago

If I had to cross the state line on a regular basis, I might do what Mr. Adams does.

But if avoiding the tax is a person's only reason I wonder if that person realizes that the fuel expense probably washes out the tax saving.

And has it ever occurred to people who do this that they are asking their neighbors to pay for whatever services the state and local government provide?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.

loading...