Some state lawmakers are talking about raising the 6.15 percent statewide sales tax to help close the budget gap – and trying to scrub the political stink from what is a tax increase by rebranding the sales tax as a “consumption tax.” But as the discussions continue in Topeka, legislators and the governor should remember that the statewide rate isn’t what most Kansans pay at the checkout counter. Because of a countywide sales tax, Wichitans pay 7.15 percent sales tax at most stores and restaurants. But combined rates of 8.15 percent (Goddard, Haysville, Newton) or more are common around the state. In part of Herington, the sales tax just rose to 10.15 percent to pay for county bridge and road improvements. One special taxing district in Junction City charges 11.15 percent sales tax. Meanwhile, Kansas already is second only to Mississippi for its regressive taxation of food purchases, which are exempt from sales tax in many states. – Rhonda Holman
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