Democrat Gov. Kelly Announces Tax Cut in GOP-Leaning Kansas

Democrat Gov. Kelly Announces Tax Cut in GOP-Leaning Kansas laura kelly holds ax in grocery store Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly raises an axe while promoting her proposal to eliminate the state's 6.5% sales tax on groceries during a news conference in the produce section of a Dillons grocery on Nov. 8, 2021, in Topeka, Kansas. (John Hanna/AP)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 09 November 2021 09:27 AM

Kansas' Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly is seeking reelection next year and has announced plans to eliminate the battleground state's tax on groceries.

Kelly said the move would save families an average of $500 per year.

"This tax cut will help our families and help our main streets," Kelly said, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

"This tax cut will keep Kansans spending their money in Kansas, not going across our borders to buy groceries. This tax cut will put money back in your pocket. And this tax will create real savings for the Kansans who need it most."

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, the GOP front-runner for next year's gubernatorial election, also has promoted cutting the tax — something Kelly ran on but has yet to deliver.

"This issue has had bipartisan support since long before Laura Kelly was governor," Schmidt told the Capital-Journal. "It's true that then-candidate Kelly campaigned on this in 2018, and it's also true that three years into her administration she has completely failed to deliver on that promise."

Kelly insists she did not forget her promise to Kansas residents, only to remember it as Democrats tied to the Biden administration struggle nationally.

The governor’s announcement came six days after Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the blue state of Virginia. And Kelly resides in what traditionally has been a GOP-leaning state.

"I asked the people of Kansas to be patient, and now I want to thank you for your patience," the governor said, the Capital Journal reported. "Because of that, we were able to put together the fiscally responsible budgets over the last three years and allow for the revenues to start coming in.

"Now we have the funds to do this and to sustain this tax cut."

Kelly did not provide details of a "bold new plan to save Kansas families money on their grocery bills."

The state tax rate is 6.5%, according to Kansas Department of Revenue data. The Sunflower State is 1 of 7 states that fully taxes groceries, and its sales tax rate is the second-highest rate in the country, the governor’s office said.

Kelly has taken other steps to secure support in what has been a red-leaning state. She argued Thursday that mandates such as those imposed by the federal government for vaccinating workers against COVID-19 "tend not to work."

Republicans are increasingly optimistic about flipping governor's offices in key battleground states next year, buoyed by President Joe Biden's sagging approval ratings, Democrat infighting in Congress, and better-than-expected results in elections in Virginia and New Jersey.