ST. LOUIS—A bill that would take Missouri off the list of 13 states which currently taxes the sale of food and groceries has had its first hearing in the Missouri General Assembly and returns there Wednesday for a possible committee vote.
“Food is necessary for life,” Jefferson County state representative Mary Elizabeth Coleman, the bill’s sponsor told FOX2 last week.”Sales taxes are regressive and sales taxes on food are the most regressive of all.”
Coleman said the bill will be amended to more clearly specify that it will only apply to the state’s one percent sales tax, and will not mean that Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP recipients would have to pay taxes on those benefits.
“Removing the tax burden of food purchase would help all Missourians, especially during a time of skyrocketing food prices. It has become increasingly difficult for lower-income Missourians to provide the necessary nutrition for their families. Missouri is one of the few remaining states that levy a tax on food purchase. It is time to end this practice,” Scott Baker, Executive Director of Feeding Missouri said in testimony submitted in support of the bill.
The Missouri Municipal League had testified in opposition to it, originally, over concerns it could have an impact on local municipal projects which are funded through sales tax revenue, but Richard Sheets, the organization’s Executive Director, told FOX2 earlier this week the amended bill would likely allay concerns.
There would be an impact on local funding for K-12 schools, although a precise estimate is not yet available. It will be less than the $142 million estimated in an initial department of revenue report, and Coleman believes, can be made up through efficiencies.