JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOV.com) — Grocery shopping during this time of inflation is zapping so many people’s wallets. Now, there’s a new movement in Missouri to get rid of the state tax you pay.
“I go to the grocery store probably three times a week,” Nicole Mellon said.
Mellon spent Monday evening shopping at Schnucks with her two sons. She said she would love to see the grocery tax taken away.
“I would appreciate it. I have two growing boys, and groceries keep getting more expensive,” Mellon said.
She said with inflation and rising prices, any break would help. That’s exactly why State Representative Mary Elizabeth Coleman is proposing House Bill 1992. A bill that would eliminate the current grocery store tax.
“Prices are going up everywhere, and I was checking my receipt and I saw we still had a tax for groceries. That peaked my interest,” Coleman said.
The Jefferson County lawmaker said she wants the one percent grocery tax gone. That tax currently helps fund public schools. However, Coleman said she believes the legislature will make up the funding elsewhere.
“It’s about $80M to $100M reduction in the state’s budget, but I think we’re going to be able to absorb that. I think that there’s room to offset that expense, and I’m not nervous about that. I think we can do both, make sure these regressive taxes that hit the poorest of the poor are taken off the books and be able to fund education fully,” Coleman said.
Missouri’s one of 13 states that has a grocery tax. As of 2020, Mississippi, one of the country’s poorest states, taxes the highest at seven percent. Coleman said schools won’t suffer, but some Missourians are hesitant.
“I would prefer we go ahead and pay the tax for groceries and let it go to the school system. I have grandchildren, and I wanna make sure they get a good education, and I want them to have the opportunities that my kids had cause they really had a good education,” Debbie Owens said.
Owens said the extra tax tacked onto her receipt isn’t a big deal. However, she said she’d take the break if it didn’t mean less for education.
“Just not take away. I think anything we can give them to help, is a great opportunity,” Owens continued.
Right now, HB 1992 is waiting to be heard by the Rules Committee. If it passes there, it will go to the house floor for a full vote. If lawmakers pass the bill this legislative session, it will go into effect January 1, 2023.
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