Kansas Governor Signs Bill Phasing Out Grocery Sales Tax

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday signed into law a plan from Republican lawmakers to phase out the state's sales tax on groceries over three years.

Kelly had a ceremony at a grocery store in Olathe, fulfilling a promise to sign the bill even though it is not as aggressive in eliminating the tax as she and fellow Democrats want. They had hoped to eliminate the entire 6.5% tax as of July 1.

Only 13 states charge any sales tax on groceries. Kansas’ rate is second only to Mississippi’s 7%.

The new Kansas law will drop the tax to 4% in January, to 2% in 2024 and to zero in 2025.

Eliminating the full tax on groceries as soon as possible was Kelly’s most visible legislative initiative this year, and she still is urging lawmakers to eliminate the tax as of July 1. The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene May 23 for a day or two.

The new law will save taxpayers about $740 million over three years, and a family spending $200 a week on groceries would save $208 in 2023.

The same family would save $676 in 2023 under Kelly’s plan, and taxpayers would save as much as $1.4 billion over three years.