This time of year gets pretty interesting for families. The end of the school year is right around the corner, so parents with elementary students are actively making plans for summer child care and activities.
Parents of high school students are planning for extracurricular activities to help their students strengthen an academic resume. Families with a college student are trying to help support the costs associated with taking on a summer internship.
With kids home from school over the summer, families will also be planning to spend more on grocery costs with meals not covered at school.
Amidst all the planning, the stress of an already tight family budget can muddle the feelings of happiness about warmer days as parents try to figure out affordable summer options.
Gov. Kelly’s “Axe the Food Tax” plan would remove the 6.5% statewide sales tax on food and bring considerable relief to families at this moment — especially as Kansans also face rising grocery costs and high prices at the pump. Over $500 could cover a lot of budget stressors as Kansans sit at the kitchen table and figure out how to best use the money coming back to them in savings.
As your state treasurer, it’s my job to champion the policies that are good for your everyday budget. This is good policy.
Now imagine we took it a step further and a family decided they were going to take that extra $500 they could expect to get back and put it monthly into a Learning Quest 529 savings account? In true Kansas fashion, I can hear a family debating the choices they need to make to their budget to ensure this extra money goes to work for them and doesn’t get wasted.
So what if about $42 a month could grow with an average rate of return of 6% into thousands of dollars of savings for a student. What if that return rate were higher with a strong market year and a more aggressive investment track?
Pursuing education through this way of saving — which could cover expenses for K-12, traditional college, technical school or a registered apprenticeship — has the opportunity to give Kansans the additional education they need to change their budget circumstances. This not only makes good use of that extra money for families — this changes the future for a student and their family.
And that idea of taking a small amount of savings that we can give back to Kansans and growing it into a dream is what our motto of “to the stars” is all about. Heck, it changes the future of our state because our students are completing their training and joining our workforce.
We are in recovery. It has been a very challenging last couple of years for all of us, but this is an opportunity for bipartisan effort to make a difference in daily life. You have had the opportunity to hear from several Kansans about why axing this regressive tax will make a difference.
If you believe in this change, I urge you to reach out to your state representative and senator. Encourage them to get a bill passed before the end of session.
Our state budget is fiscally in a healthier place once again. Gov. Kelly has led the changes that were needed to ensure our state has a rainy day fund and the surplus needed to enact meaningful change.
It is time to make space for an impactful piece of legislation like this one. Together, we can continue to prioritize a future for our state that lifts up all families.
Lynn Rogers is the Kansas state treasurer.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Kansas Legislature should cut sales tax on food this session