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Kansans paying 2nd highest state sales tax in nation on groceries


Topeka — In all the furor over various tax proposals in the Legislature, one that has caught the attention of some legislators is reducing the state sales tax on groceries.

People who buy their groceries in Kansas are paying the second-highest state sales tax in the nation on groceries.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, 45 states charge a state sales tax. Of those, 31 exempt groceries from the state sales tax.

Of the other 14 states, seven charge a portion of the state sales tax on groceries, and seven, including Kansas, apply the entire state sales tax on groceries. Of those seven, only Mississippi has a higher state sales tax: 7 percent. The state sales tax in Kansas is now 6.3 percent.

If the Kansas sales tax decreases to 5.7 percent, as current law states, Kansans will pay the third highest state tax on groceries behind Mississippi and Idaho, with a 6 percent tax.


Shardwurm 4 years, 12 months ago

Can't afford to eat, drink, smoke, buy gasoline, pay taxes on personal property, pay state income tax, or start a business.

Other than that it's a great place to live.

Clickker 4 years, 12 months ago

WHAT?....Are you serious that most states exempt groceries from sales tax?

No way!

elliottaw 4 years, 12 months ago

most states also don't charge property taxes on your vehicles every year, you just pay the sales tax when you buy them


Topple 4 years, 11 months ago

Yup, land of the taxed.

Pay tax on your income. Pay tax when you purchase a car. Pay tax to keep your car.

Phoghorn 4 years, 12 months ago

Yeppers. Texas being a great example. The Texas Taxes are very progressive in that regard. No tax on food, no income tax, and no tax on vehicles (in most counties). Texas will sock it to you if you buy a house there, however (some counties worse than others).

Bubbacorsair 4 years, 11 months ago

I wouldn't be so quick to tout Texas. They have the highest rate of medically uninsured, one of the highest poverty rates in the country, and the list goes on and on.

They're a prime example of the old saw, "You get what you pay for." In Texas' case, not very much.

Phoghorn 4 years, 11 months ago

Yes, but many of the states with the highest rate of medically uninsured also have a large number of recent immigrants (both legal and illegal) who work in low wage agricultural jobs. If those jobs existed in Wisconsin, instead, you would see the same problem there.

Topple 4 years, 11 months ago

Exactly. When it comes down to it, we all consume essentially equal amounts of groceries per person. So Poverty Jane pays as much tax as Richy Rich.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 12 months ago

Balancing the deficit on the backs of poor while doing everything they can to keep upper class and corporations from paying any tax.

Phoghorn 4 years, 12 months ago

Yes, it sure has. Of course the biggest "tax" on groceries right now is nationwide inflation.

elliottaw 4 years, 12 months ago

the point being that if they wanted to lower taxes that would effect everyone they could lower or get rid of that, they choose to lower the taxes that effect people in the upper tax bracket the most.

cowboy 4 years, 12 months ago

Fabulous Job Kansas....we now are vying for poll spots with Mississippi.

cowboy 4 years, 12 months ago

Kansas New Slogan " Were just a .07% better than Mississippi"

CreatureComforts 4 years, 11 months ago

Well that would be incorrect, because I believe you mean 0.7% ;)

George Dugger 4 years, 12 months ago

All you tax refugees from other states that don't buy groceries, come on down to Brownbackistan.

Paul Geisler 4 years, 12 months ago

When we lived in Minnesota unprepared foods which is most of what you buy at the grocery store are exempt from sales tax, but prepared foods like at a restaurant are still taxed. And Minnesota doesn't charge sales tax on most clothing either! Which all makes a big difference for low & middle-income households!

Phoghorn 4 years, 12 months ago

I have always admired that about Minnesota. Two points in their favor.


Dave Trabert 4 years, 11 months ago

According to US Census data, Minnesota state taxes were $3,834 per resident in 2012. For a little perspective, state taxes were $2,571 in Kansas and $1,865 in Texas. The states with no income tax averaged $2,022 per resident in state taxes. http://www.kansaspolicy.org/researchcenters/budgetandspending/budgetandspendingdatawarehouse/d105649.aspx?type=view

Dave Trabert 4 years, 11 months ago

Don't know where you're getting median income but you can't compare median income to per-capita taxes. You can, however, compare per-capita income to per-capita taxes. The Tax Foundation provides those numbers, showing that Minnesota has the 7th highest rate (PC taxes paid divided by PC income) in the nation, Kansas has the 22nd highest and Texas has the 45th highest (5th lowest). http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-and-local-tax-burdens-all-states-one-year-1977-2010

Dave Trabert 4 years, 11 months ago

Your math is way off. Per capita income in Minnesota is 11.2% higher than Kansas but per capita state and local taxes are 24.3% higher.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

According to the Tax Foundation, a "think tank" you seem to admire, Minnesota ranks #7 in highest state and local tax burden, while Kansas ranks #18. Data was as of 2009, so it does not include the massive tax break your Kochs got this year.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

PS - meant to include that the reason Dave admires the group is because they are also paid to say what the Kochs want them to say. The foundation has a long history, but their accuracy has been questionable in recent years.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

And less of that tax burden is borne by the poor - not only because they have a lower poverty level than we do in Kansas, but because they don't tax groceries and clothing items.

Paul Geisler 4 years, 11 months ago

Many Minnesotans joke about it being the Commonwealth of Minnesota because taxes are higher but the fine citizens of Minnesota receive many benefits that are made possible by that extra tax revenue. When I moved back to Kansas from Minnesota I had a great job that paid very well, and with regular overtime I made almost as much as I have been making working at KU since I received a promotion 3 years ago, but it took me 6 years just to get BACK to the level of earnings I had left behind in Minnesota! But with inflation and skyrocketing gas prices in reality I'm actually earning less than I did 10 years ago, and we have a second child to support on that income. I don't miss the winters but I do miss Minnesota's very healthy job market, great health care, their very active outdoor way of life, etc! And one more comment about the sales tax issue. MN doesn't tax most clothing that you buy either, and the lack of sales tax on food & clothing for a family of four does make a big difference.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

This magical math message brought to you by the billionaire Koch brothers, now with 100% less Kansas state income tax.

tomatogrower 4 years, 11 months ago

Minnesota also ranks higher in several education statistics and in other areas for which tax dollars pay. You get what you pay for, Dave. You don't want to pay much for education, you have good education, you don't want to pay much for good roads, you get bad roads, you don't want to pay much to police officers, they are more likely to take bribes or not be there when you need them. You don't want to pay much for teachers, good teachers find better jobs and you're left with those who can't teach.

question4u 4 years, 12 months ago

Hold on! Brownback and the Senate aren't asking you to pay the second highest state sales tax on groceries for no reason. They only want to ensure that the owners of grocery stores and other businesses won't have to pay any state income tax on their personal profits.

It's not as though Brownback and the Senate want to raise $857 million from increased sales tax revenues over the next five years so that they can restore funds to education, public safety, or health, or anything ridiculous like that. It's just to increase the personal wealth of Kansas business owners. There's nothing wrong with that, right?

Now they can become wealthier both because you purchase their products and because you pay a higher sales tax on those products. It's a win-win situation (for business owners). That makes it all OK, doesn't it? After all, it's not as though the new tax revenue will go to

Phoghorn 4 years, 12 months ago

Actually it is the other way 'round. In a fascist system, the government takes over corporations. Not corporations taking over the government. When corporations control the government, you get crony capitalism, which is not capitalism at all. Thus the term crony capitalism is inherently an oxymoron.

Free enterprise exists, under Fascism, but the government essentially tells you how to operate your business (how much stock you can have, what prices you can charge, who you can order from, etc). Fascism is a bridge between socialism (free enterprise exists, but is taxed heavily) and communism (no free enterprise). As you say, there is nothing conservative about it.

Fascism is often mistakenly considered a right-wing form of government because a fascist government often uses the military to enforce laws. In effect, it is a left-wing governmental structure because the military exists primarily to enforce harsh regulations on business. (The Wikipedia entry for Fascism is a bit errant in this regard). Anarchy would be the extreme right-wing opposite.

chootspa 4 years, 12 months ago

Fascism is a totalitarian system that strongly regulates enterprise but does not own it. In fact, entrepreneurs were ideally given a large amount of autonomy. Corporations are seen as valuable incubators for innovation and efficiency, while public ownership if the means of production is seen as inefficient and a route toward corruption. Sound familiar? While there were many regulations imposed on industry during fascist regimes, much of that is more properly attributed toward wartime rationing and military needs rather than a philosophical belief in wealth redistribution.

It was perfectly fine and in fact encouraged for business owners to make a profit at the expense of the labor of their workers, while under communism such a practice would be forbidden (at least officially.) Again, private property was valued, an workers, unions, and worker's rights are the thing that is opposed. "Private property is the natural precondition to the development of personality. Only private property is able to further the continuous attachment to a certain work" - Otto Ohlendorf

Yeah, OK, that was a rambling way to say that I agree that the Brownback regime is more precisely described as crony capitalism, but fascism is still properly classified as a right-wing governmental structure.

Anarchy could be argued to be both right wing and left wing extremism at once. Extreme Marxism would also have the government and central authority melt away into a system of natural equilibrium where everyone's needs were met, while extreme libertarianism believes that if no government existed, a state of equilibrium would be attained in which everyone's needs would be met. They're both wrong.

avarom 4 years, 12 months ago

Fascism is a form of political and social behavior that arises when the middle class, finding its hopes frustrated by economic instability coupled with political polarization and deadlock, abandons traditional ideologies and turns, with the approbation of police and military forces, to a poorly-defined but emotionally appealing soteriology of national unity, immediate and direct resolution of problems, and intolerance for dissent.

oldexbeat 4 years, 11 months ago

reduce consumption -- eat less -- buy less -- stop shopping as a hobby -- trade items with each other -- yard sales -- gardens -- walk -- health will go up and Kansas (aka, Brownbackistan) will see sales tax revenues drop. (Of course, that down side is that local businesses will suffer -- maybe Brownback wants that ?)

Robert Greenwood 4 years, 11 months ago

Only one state Mississippi has a higher sales tax on food than Kansas. Part of Sam's vision for Kansas?

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

Apparently Dave is a fan. I'm sure he can show us math that Mississippi has better schools and job growth, too.

Mr_B9 4 years, 11 months ago

If I remember correctly food tax is more than booze tax in Lawrence. Does that seem right? http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/jul...

jafs 4 years, 11 months ago


I've noticed that when I buy a bottle of wine, but never understood it.

Maddy Griffin 4 years, 11 months ago

Start a garden and grow your own food.That'll learn 'em.

chootspa 4 years, 11 months ago

I've got a yard, thanks. It's next to the home I also own and paid for with the above median income I earn, and it grows the vegetables I plant. Would you care to make any other incorrect guesses about me?

Jeanette Kekahbah 4 years, 11 months ago

right on grammaddy! grow food myself - got seed & veggies to share too. thank my grandparents who farmed, took care of me & taught me so well.

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