February 10, 2016

OUR VIEW: Good idea, bad timing for bill to eliminate food tax

There’s good news and bad news in a plan adopted by members of the Kansas House.

First the good:

Kansas is one of only a handful of states that taxes groceries the same way other items are taxed. Right now, at 6.3 percent, the regressive grocery tax forces those with lower incomes to spend a disproportionate amount of their expenditures on sales taxes on food. The current sales tax on food creates a distinct disadvantage for Kansas families, while making food slightly costlier for consumers than it is in other states.

So, when the House passed the bill to end sales taxes on groceries, it looked like a win for consumers.

The downside, however, is that state and local government coffers are dependent on grocery sales taxes to fund a significant portion of their budgets. According to the Kansas Legislative Research Department, dropping the state’s 6.3 percent sales tax on groceries would carve $350 million from state coffers. That’s money the state can currently ill afford without additional spending cuts.


It’s unfortunate that Kansas places such a high tax rate on basic necessities like food. Lowering that rate should be a goal of future legislatures.
Unfortunately, there are a few other things that must be done in advance of eliminating the state’s sales tax on food. One, local governments need a little more warning. In most locations, including Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill, a local tax is layered above and beyond state sales tax to supplement their municipal budgets. Local grocery sales taxes are especially critical for governments in communities with little or no retail except grocery stores, and the law must be clear on whether local taxes can continue to be placed on grocery items.

And store owners must be given more than a few months to adopt any new sales tax initiative. Retailers need ample time to determine which items will have different sales tax under the law, and they’ll need time to implement those changes in their computer systems.

In the meantime, the Legislature should make the appropriate spending cuts to allow for the difference in the amount the state receives from the sale of groceries.

Good idea. Bad timing, but we applaud the effort.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Brownback and those legislators aren’t going to be reducing that sales tax increase they instigated just a couple of years ago – they need that money since Brownback wants to have a huge reserve in place when he eliminates income tax for more of the business special interests. They don’t need to cut services, they need to stop all of the handouts, subsidies, farm appraisals, and every kind of sweet deal they can think of and then the citizens would have money running out of their ears. They all no more care whether Kansans have health care, a livable wage, etc., etc. than a man in the moon and they certainly don’t care about the gays and especially they want to control a woman’s body and sex life as indicated in the following article. It all boils down to IGNORANCE and the Dark Ages are back with us due to the Republicans and their enablers and supporters. I truly understand why Rush is the head of the Republican Party.



    Gov. Brownback, may I call you Sam? I think a little intimacy is fair when you and your administration are working so hard to control my vagina.
    So I see from your recent press release that you’re all about job creation for Kansans. Hey, something we can agree on! Republican or Democrat, man or woman, who could object to more jobs? Especially in the tech sector.
    Now, I have to admit that I haven’t been thinking all that much about tech jobs lately. Instead, I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around all the restrictive legislation the great state of Kansas has proposed to limit my rights as a woman. However, job creation happens to be an issue where you and I agree. Kansas does need new jobs and business growth.
    But then it hit me: There is a great way to create jobs — tech jobs and accomplish your goal of turning back women’s health to resemble the Victorian age! Stay with me, Sam, because you’re going to love this: microchips — the kind you implant in the family pet.
    Microchips solve all of our problems. Just as, when Fido gets out, the chip implanted under his skin sends a signal back to home base so his family can track the loose dog, I propose a simple device to be implanted in every woman’s vagina. Bingo: every vagina accounted for. Best of all, we can manufacture the chips right here in Kansas.
    Sounds radical, I know. Well, so did mandatory vaginal ultrasounds before abortions. But that’s all settled now, right?
    Remember, it’s all about controlling a woman’s fertility. And this little fella will be set up to monitor a woman’s cycle and report its findings to her state government. Imagine: every sexual encounter, every partner, every form of birth control, every pregnancy, available for digital review. If the state so chooses, that data can be distributed to a woman’s employer, her church or anyone else who needs to know her sexual habits.
    And it’s rhythm-method compatible, which will come in handy when Christian conservatives have their way and outlaw all contraception. The microchip can monitor a woman’s cycle and tell her the “safe” times in her cycle to have sex to avoid pregnancy, using a series of signals. I’m still trying to decide if it should be beeps or vibrations. Maybe personal ringtones as an option?
    Wait, now that I think about it, no vibration setting. We wouldn’t want the woman to get sexually aroused. That defeats the purpose and suggests that sex can be had for reasons other than procreation. Hearing your “go time” signal in public might be a little embarrassing at first, but women will just have to get used to it.
    Right, right, I know — you’re thinking who’s going to watch all this new vagina data? I don’t want you to get in trouble with your fellow Republicans, who are all for cutting the size of government. But this is different. Overseeing women’s bodies is really important to the GOP, and so is job creation.
    So it’s time to establish the Department of Vaginas. It would monitor every microchip and alert physicians when they need to step in and deliver a baby. (Why examine lady parts if there’s no pregnancy involved?)
    I think this is going to be great. And Sam, you’ll be the one who made Kansas the pioneer. Think of all of the conservative states that are going to line up for your chip: Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia … Texas again.
    This is so obviously a win-win. We’ll look like we’re pushing the boundaries of technology, creating jobs and controlling women’s bodies. If that’s not a ticket to a future GOP presidential bid, I don’t know what is. I’ve already got your new bumper sticker: Kansas — where your vagina is everyone’s business.

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