Proposal would use Lawrence sales tax on food to help poor
Feb. 17, 2018
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — City leaders are looking at the possibility of indirectly returning some of the money impoverished Lawrence residents are charged in sales tax on groceries.
Mayor Stuart Boley proposed the program to city commissioners Feb. 13, the Lawrence Journal-World reported .
"I've been working to figure out how much people in Lawrence who are in poverty pay to the city, to us, in sales tax on their groceries, with the idea that we might be able to turn some of that money back around to mitigate hunger in Lawrence," Boley said.
Kansas is one of only 13 states in the country charging any sales tax on groceries, according to a 2016 report from the Tax Foundation. Lawrence residents pay more than 9 percent sales tax on purchases that include groceries.
Boley said he would like at least a portion of the amount charged to low-income families to be spent on a program to fight hunger.
About 17 percent of people living in the county are "food insecure," meaning they have limited or uncertain access to adequate food, according to the Douglas County Community Health Assessment.
Lawmakers recently introduced legislation affecting the state sales tax on groceries. Even though the proposed legislation wouldn't affect Lawrence, Boley said he thinks the commission should consider how changes might affect the city's budget in the future.
City Manager Tom Markus said that if any changes are made that would affect the city's sales tax revenue, then commissioners would have to find another source of revenue or make cuts.
Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com