TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was in the Kansas City area Wednesday to sign a bill phasing out the state’s food sales tax.

The event took place at a Hy-Vee in Olathe.

“No family in Kansas should have to choose between buying groceries and paying the rent or mortgage,” Kelly said Wednesday. “No family in Kansas should go hungry because food costs too much.”

After years of debating the issue, Kansas lawmakers finally agreed on a plan to phase out the state’s 6.5% food sales tax starting next year.

Kelly and democratic leaders wanted the sales tax eliminated completely this year, but lawmakers decided to compromise on a gradual reduction.

Starting in January, people who shop in Kansas can get more at the grocery store because of the new bill. The food sales tax will drop to 4% next year, then to 2% in 2024, and to zero in 2025.

“I know the budget inside and out, and I know that we have revenues coming into this state now that would sustain a full elimination of the sale tax on food this year, next year and every year afterwar,” Kelly said. 

Shoppers said regardless of the gradual phase-out, they’re happy even a little help is on the way.

“Everything goes up but our pay,” shopper Brandy Stimec said.

“It’ll help out the cost of living when you shop for groceries and things and so forth,” shopper John Mobley said. “It’ll help the household as a hold.”