Can the Democratic governor of Kansas get Republicans on board for tax cuts in a non-election year? | KCUR 89.3

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About eight months after Republican-Democratic Governor Laura Kelly, who controls the Kansas legislature, agreed to terms to phase out the state’s sales tax on food, food prices have skyrocketed and food prices have skyrocketed. The surcharge of 6.5% remains intact.

I have just been re-elected the deal she negotiatedKelly wants to ditch the phase-out in order to end more quickly and completely the tax that hits households the hardest with the least amount of money.

Its sales tax is set to drop to 4% on January 1, but Kelly says it’s too late.Meanwhile, Midwest grocery prices rose More than 13% more than last year.

Brian Walker, president and CEO of the Kansas Food Bank in Wichita, said the next phase-out could help poor families, but eliminating surcharges entirely would help even more. Told.

“It makes sense for us to cut everything down and actually provide the relief this bill was meant to provide people,” Walker said.

On Monday, Kerry called on lawmakers to cut some taxes. She says Kansas could save her $500 million in three years. She said the state has more than $2 billion in budget surpluses, so cuts are possible.

The headline of that plan is to completely eliminate the food excise tax. It’s the same plan she proposed a year ago, The promise she made on the campaign trail this fall. In recent years, both Kerry and leading Republicans have backed the same idea.

The governor’s proposal would eliminate the tax on diapers and sanitary products, along with the food sales tax. Kelly also proposed cutting Social Security income taxes for retirees and creating a three-day tax holiday for back-to-school purchases.

Kelly claims the original food tax proposal was a victim. election year politicsRepublicans generally support tax cuts, but they also don’t want to give Kerry a policy victory just before he runs for re-election.

But now that the election is over and Kelly has won another four-year term, she has pledged to work with the Republican Party to get it done.

But these lawmakers may not see much of a political incentive to give Kerry what he wants.

Alexandra Middlewood, a political scientist at Wichita State University, said the phase-out would work well in line with the state’s 2024 election, when all seats in Kansas’ House and Senate will be up for election. Currently, the tax will be reduced to 2% in 2024 and will go to zero on January 1, 2025.

In that timeline, Republicans could wait for phasing out, delay action until an election year instead of now, and use it as a campaign piece to try and maintain a Republican overwhelming majority in Congress. there is.

“It would be more advantageous for them to extend it or keep it as it is now and try to get political gain in the next election,” Middlewood said.

Republicans have so far remained coy about their plans for the tax in the next session. , suggested that House Republicans were more interested in tax cuts that “benefit all of Kansas.”

Stephen Coranda


kansas news service

People suffering from food insecurity would benefit from the Kansas Legislature removing the state sales tax on food.

But Brett Hartford, executive director of Lawrence Food Bank’s Just Food, argues that lower food sales taxes would benefit Kansas as a whole.

Just Food primarily provides supplemental food items to those it serves, and in the past six months, nearly 30,000 households have used the food bank. But everyone needs to buy groceries.

“It will be a huge relief for everyone in Kansas,” Hartford said.

Meanwhile, one of Kelly’s other tax cut proposals, an income tax cut on Social Security for retired seniors, may be more attractive to lawmakers. Republican Derek Schmidt proposed exempting pensions, Social Security, and private retirement distributions from the state income tax as part of his gubernatorial campaign, but was ultimately defeated by Kelly.

Middlewood said Kansas Republicans have historically been more interested in cutting income taxes. A Social Security tax cut could be something Republicans would agree with.

“So they’ll find out they don’t play ball with the grocery tax,” Middlewood said.

Dylan Risen reports on politics for the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @DylanLysen or email him at dlysen (at) kcur (dot) org.

Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW, and High Plains Public Radio, focuses on health, the social determinants of health, and their relationship to public policy.

Kansas News Service articles and photos may be republished free of charge by news media with proper attribution and a link to

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