Could sales tax holiday soon become reality in Kansas?

Back to school shopping in Wichita, Kansas.
Back to school shopping in Wichita, Kansas.(KWCH)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 7:23 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - If you’re a parent traveling through Missouri or Oklahoma this weekend (Aug. 5-7), it might be worth stopping for some back-to-school shopping.

Through Sunday is the annual tax holiday for school supplies in two of Kansas’ neighboring states. It’s an idea that’s long been discussed in Kansas. So, where does it stand?

A survey found parents on average spend more than $660 per child for clothes and traditional school supplies. While relief would certainly be welcome, there’s not currently a stretch set aside for Kansas parents to catch a break as they do for at least three days each year in states including Oklahoma and Missouri.

“It can mean a lot as far as the family budget is concerned with sales tax in the state of Kansas,” said State Senator Virgil Peck ® Havana.

Peck said when you add in local sales tax, the total sales tax pushes to near 10 percent for many Kansans.

Kansas for years has been discussing a sales tax holiday for school supplies, clothes, and computers.

“A piece of legislation I have introduced several times in my legislative career,” Peck said. Peck said this year it almost got done. Living near the Kansas/Oklahoma border in Montgomery County, he knows many neighbors and families will be traveling to the Sooner State for back-to-school shopping.

“So, a lot of people will travel south to Oklahoma to save money,” he said. “It has had a negative impact on our businesses, I believe on the Kansas economy. “I hear from so many parents who will drive across the state line to do their back-to-school shopping.”

Under Senator Peck’s proposal, the sales tax holiday would start Thursday and run through the following Sunday, zeroing out the state sales tax for specific items.

With parents expected to spend an average of more than $660 per child, by removing the state sales tax, there would be a savings of more than $40. When lawmakers return to Topeka in January, Peck said he’s going to introduce the legislation for a sales tax holiday again. “I would just love to see this accomplished for the benefit of the state, our businesses and our families,” he said. “Maybe 2023 will be our year.” The Kansas Department of Revenue estimated with Senator Peck’s bill, it would cost the state about $8 million in taxes. But Peck said a tax holiday would be an economic benefit with increased spending at restaurants and other businesses, and it keeps that money in the state.

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