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Governor Kelly axes grocery tax in Kansas

Governor Kelly Axes Tax

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly at a desk in a field while signing her proclamation for “Kansas Beef Month” (in May) on Lyons Ranch in Manhattan. Pictured; just behind Governor Kelly are Jan and Frank Lyons. Governor Kelly also proclaimed June “Dairy Month” in Kansas.

Kansas will no longer have a tax on groceries, beginning 2025. It may come even sooner, if Kansas Governor Laura Kelly gets her wish. After conducting a massive statewide campaign over the past several months to “Axe the Tax,” state lawmakers approved a type of compromise bill that will knock the tax down to zero gradually over the next three years. 

Although Governor Kelly wanted the zero tax accomplished by January 2023, she signed the bill May 11, but is intent on getting the full grocery tax completely eliminated next year.

“It’s amazing that we were able to garner bipartisan support, particularly since it’s an election year. It’s not what I originally wanted, and I will come back next year on it, but we’re making great strides,” said Kansas Governor Laura Kelly in an interview with Midwest Messenger reporter Amy Hadachek on Tuesday, May 31. 

Under this compromise legislation, it moves Kansas’ 6.5 percent sales tax on groceries down to 4 percent in January 2023, then down to 2 percent in 2024, and finally would be “zeroed out” January 2025, Governor Kelly said.

However, pushing to get the grocery tax completely eliminated is at the top of Governor Kelly’s agenda when the Legislature re-convenes next January 2023, which she hopes to have accomplished by Kansas Day; Jan. 29. Wiping out the grocery tax will save a family of four an average of more than $500 a year at the zero percent status. It will also entice more Kansans to shop in the state, instead of opting to cross the border into Nebraska – where there is no tax on groceries.

In other financial news, to provide relief from record high gas prices in Kansas and around the country, Governor Kelly, in conjunction with the Bipartisan Coalition of Governors, just recently was able to get an emergency waiver for E-15 gasoline for the 2022 summer ozone control season. E-15 gasoline, which is a 15 percent ethanol blend, will potentially help farmers due to the demand for corn. It is a low-carbon, clean, affordable energy source as well. E-15 costs 10 cents a gallon less than regular gas, which makes it more affordable, Kelly said.

“E-15 is sold during all other months except summer months. We put in a waiver for us to sell it in summer months, which is just the first step. We’re still pushing for the administration in Washington to provide a long term solution,” Governor Kelly said. The goal is to hopefully allow the sale of E-15 gasoline year-round, specifically during those summer months.

Governor Kelly got the waiver, along with several other governors in the Midwest, including Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and they all continue working to make that price drop permanent. This waives the 9-psi Reid vapor pressure (RVP) limitation for gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol (E15).

In other news from Governor Kelly, several Kansas communities will receive funding to improve railroad lines as part of the $11.5 million Kansas Rail Improvement Fund. The Kansas Rail Service Improvement Fund and the Short Line Rail Improvement Fund are overseen by the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, also known as IKE. Each grantee must agree to fund 40 percent of the improvement project, Kelly said. 

Governor Kelly’s administration also announced having received $10 million to expand broadband access across rural Kansas. 

Kelly emphasized that agriculture is not only the economic backbone of Kansas, but also the cultural backbone. In addition to issuing an official proclamation celebrating May as “Beef Month,” she also proclaimed June as “Dairy Month.”

“We do that because we want to celebrate our ag community and raise awareness of it,” Governor Kelly said.

“As we grow, it’s important and imperative that our agriculture industry and agriculture communities thrive …and we have put a huge emphasis on that, when we created the Office of Rural Prosperity.”

Reporter Amy Hadachek is a two-time Emmy Award winning meteorologist and a storm chaser who earned her NWA and AMS Broadcast Meteorology seals of approval. Amy and her husband live on a diversified farm in Kansas. Reach her at amy.hadachek@midwestmessenger.com.

                                                                       

    

Reporter Amy Hadachek is a two-time Emmy Award winning meteorologist and a storm chaser who earned her NWA and AMS Broadcast Meteorology Seals of Approval. She and her husband live on a diversified farm in Kansas. Reach her at amy.hadachek@midwestmessenger.com.

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Reporter Amy Hadachek is a two-time Emmy Award winning meteorologist and a storm chaser. She and her husband live on a diversified farm in Kansas. Reach her at amy.hadachek@midwestmessenger.com.

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