Kansas losing grocery tax revenue to border hopping, study says

Larry Adams lives in northern Kansas, but about half his grocery shopping is done in Nebraska.

“If we need a loaf of bread, we’ll buy it locally,” said Adams, a resident of Logan in rural Phillips County. “But if we’re already going to the doctor in McCook (Neb.), we’ll stop at Wal-Mart and fill the car up.”

The reason is simple. Food is taxed at 8 percent in Logan. But food isn’t taxed at all in Nebraska, about 25 miles to the north.

A Wichita State University study released last week suggests the state sales tax on food, in addition to local sales taxes, is causing shoppers like Adams to buy groceries across state lines for better deals.

And the study says all those cross-border tax receipts from food sales are costing Kansas border counties and the state’s coffers.

“We’re in a tough situation from every angle right now, and ultimately the consumer is at a disadvantage because we have a high sales tax on food,” said Sen. Michael O’Donnell, a Wichita Republican.

But there’s disagreement about whether so-called “border hopping” is happening en masse.

(Read more: Local News | KansasCity.com &)

Leave a Comment