Report: Residents Buy Groceries Out Of State Due To Food Tax

Jan 18, 2016

Credit anokarina, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study shows Kansas' high sales taxes on groceries have people crossing state lines to shop, particularly residents living in border counties.

The trend hurts low-income families, rural grocery stores and local governments.

Wichita State University's Kansas Public Finance Center analyzed the latest available food sales data and estimated that Kansas lost $345.6 million in food sales in 2013. The data does not include last year's sales tax hike that boosted Kansas' food sales tax to one of the highest in the nation.

The state's largest county, Johnson County, suffered the biggest losses with an estimated $93 million loss in food sales. But the losses on a per capita basis hit the smaller border counties the hardest.

Kansas is one of only 14 states that taxes groceries. Neighboring Nebraska and Colorado do not.