Derek Schmidt mobilizes and calls for relaxation or elimination of the tax on groceries


Here we are almost a year before Election Day, and Laura Kelly and the Kansas Democrats are trotting Anthony Hensley in his familiar role as the governor’s attack dog. Their despair shows itself early.

Hensley, who was fired by voters in his hometown last November, wrote a guest column last week attacking Derek Schmidt because Derek is a Republican who dared to call for lower sales tax on products from ‘grocery store.

So much for the bipartisanship promised by Laura Kelly.

But Hensley appears to have a case of selective amnesia. While complaining about decades-old votes in the Legislature, he conveniently omitted a more recent one: State Senate. Hensley and Laura Kelly both voted for while Derek Schmidt voted no.

That’s right – Laura Kelly and Anthony Hensley imposed a record food tax hike on Kansans over Derek Schmidt’s objection.

This 2010 tax increase was a one-cent increase in the sales tax rate, equivalent to an overall tax increase of over $ 1 billion for Kansas families over three years, from 2011 to 2013, with over $ 150 million more each year to date.

Then came 2018. Laura Kelly decided to run for governor and lo and behold the grocery tax cut she’d lifted a few years earlier suddenly seemed like a good idea.

Talk about a conversion to an election year.

Those elections have come and gone, and in the three years since then, Laura Kelly has broken her campaign promise – in fact, she vetoed a bill in 2019 that would have reduced the tax on groceries.

So Derek Schmidt has stepped up the leadership we need to get the job done. On November 5, he called on the Senate and House leaders to reduce or eliminate the tax on groceries this coming year.

Three days later, Laura Kelly came out of hibernation and followed Derek’s lead.

Kansas has the second-highest grocery sales tax in the United States despite 12.1% of Kansans suffering from food insecurity, a figure above the national average. Grocery tax relief is needed more than ever to help hard-working families cope with rising food prices caused by the inflationary policies of the Biden administration.

Enough then with political games. Just sign the bill this time, Governor, and cancel your partisan attack dog. Derek Schmidt is working effectively with other heads of state to finally get your massive tax hike repealed instead of just talking about it.

This is called leadership. That’s what the Kansans need in a governor.

Jim Denning is the former Kansas Senate Majority Leader.


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