A bill that looks to exempt retail sales of food from state sales taxes was heard in a senate economic development and tax policy committee. Sen. Mary Elizabeth Coleman of Arnold says government shouldn’t be making money off of taxing groceries when people are already working paycheck-to-paycheck.
“I think that, as costs are rising, as people are having a harder time making ends meet, and just out of justice that grocery sales tax revenue is not where we should be funding essential businesses,” according to Sen. Coleman. “These are essential items that every family needs, eggs and milk and bread, and the state doesn’t have any business adding a sales tax to those items.”
She testified in committee how much inflation has affected the average working Missouri family and questions the inconsistency of Missouri’s Constitution, which she says has a ban on taxing essential items.
“Our (state) constitution ends up being a little bit internally inconsistent on an ongoing basis because of all the ballot initiatives and the document has gotten quite large,” explains Sen. Coleman. “This is something, I think, that everyone can agree on.”
Coleman cites the inflation skyrocketing prices for being the reason Missourians need that extra break when shopping for essential items, however some organizations don’t approve of the legislation, saying that the sales tax on food benefits Missouri’s education system. The current law taxes retail sales of food at just over one-percent.
The Senate Economic Development Committee and Tax Policy Committee, which heard the bill on Monday hasn’t yet voted on the bill.
Click here for more information on SB 161.