Sales tax still high in Kansas, economist notes

According to data released by the Tax Foundation this week, Kansas is still one of the highest states for sales tax.

“For the fourth straight year, Kansas has the 8th highest sales tax rate in the country,” said Michael Austin, an economist with the Sandlian Center for Entrepreneurial Government at the Kansas Policy Institute. “Another way to put it would be, shoppers at The Legends or in Topeka or in Wichita down at the river, they are paying a higher sales tax rate than let’s say, shoppers in California.”

Kansas just nips California on average, as it is 9th overall in the data.

“A high tax rate on casual shopping, on recreational services, unfortunately, discourages people from coming to Kansas to do business,” Austin said.

On the other hand, sales tax is the most transparent form of taxation as consumers can see their tax burden printed directly on their receipts.

“Even though the state sales tax rate has remained at 6.5% since 2015, at the local level, what we’re seeing are more and more county governments and more city governments are finding ways to hike up
their sales tax rates for a myriad of purposes,” said Austin.

As of August 1, 2019, the combined state and local sales tax rates in Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee and Leawood were all above 9%.