Kelly launches legislative campaign for three-year, $500 million state tax reduction plan


Ends food sales tax in ’23, creates school tax holiday, hikes Social Security exemption

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by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
December 19, 2022

ROELAND PARK — Gov. Laura Kelly initiated a campaign Monday to convince the Republican-led Legislature the revenue surplus was sufficient to end the state sales tax on groceries by April 1, create a three-day sales tax holiday on school supplies and increase the state income tax exemption on Social Security benefits.

Individual pieces of the Democratic governor’s proposal, including the additional idea of dropping the state sales tax on diapers and feminine hygiene products, have been discussed by the Legislature. The only element to be embraced by House and Senate members has been elimination of the sales tax on groceries, but the bill signed by Kelly earlier this year would accomplish that goal over a three-year period.

“By cutting taxes on groceries and diapers, school supplies and Social Security, this plan will put money back in Kansans’ pockets and create real savings for those who need it most,” Kelly said. “I am calling on legislators of both parties to support these bills and provide practical financial relief to families and retirees across our great state.”

During a news conference in the fresh fruit and vegetable section of a Price Chopper store, the governor said the “Axing Your Taxes” program would save Kansans more than $500 million during the next three years. More than three-fourths of that total would be derived by dropping the state’s 6.5% sales tax on groceries by April 1 or July 1, she said.

Under existing law, the grocery sales tax enforced by the state would fall to 4% on Jan. 1, 2% on Jan. 1, 2024, and be eliminated on Jan. 1, 2025. Republicans in the House and Senate have pushed back against calls to speed up that process because they prefer to devoted state resources to income and property tax reductions.

Kelly urged the Legislature to get behind a three-day state sales tax holiday every August on school supplies, personal computers, instructional materials and art supplies. It would benefit families and educators while providing an incentive for people not to cross the border into Missouri to buy these items, she said.

The state income tax on Social Security income kicks in when a person earns more than $75,000 annually, but Kelly’s proposed bill would raise that exemption to $100,000. She said it was bad policy for Kansas to tax the entirety of a person’s Social Security income if that individual earned $75,001 or more.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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