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Kansas' food sales tax has shoppers crossing state lines - KOAM TV 7

Kansas' food sales tax has shoppers crossing state lines

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Kansas' high sales taxes on groceries have people crossing state lines for their milk bread and eggs Particularly those 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.

Wichita State University Kansas Public Finance Center put out a new study showing data that the state lost over $300 million in food sales in 2013, which cost the state $21.2 million in lost sales tax revenue.

Kansas' food sales tax rate is 6.5 percent as compared to Missouri's 1.2 percent and Oklahoma's 4.5 percent sales tax. Of the state's 105 counties, 35 counties share at least one border with a neighboring state that has a lower food sales tax than Kansas.

"You know we talked about this real seriously last year when we added the tax, we knew that it could move people across the line to buy things but it was something we had to do because it was something we had to do to raise revenue so I hope people understand that and I hope we can get them to stay here," Rep. Chuck Smith (R-KS/District 3) said.

Smith said the state wanted good roads and good schools, so they moved ahead with the tax hike.

"I know it's difficult for people but again, it's important that we support our state, it's important that we support our local businesses," Smith said.

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.
 

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