Municipalities Leery Over Governor's Grocery Tax Plan

Tuesday, February 7th 2017, 6:40 pm

During the governor’s State of the State address, she suggested eliminating the state sales tax on groceries.  

"Awesome. That would be awesome. That would help our families like us all over the place," said Kylee Kirk, of Maud.  

The Kirk family struggles to pay for groceries. With seven people living in their tiny home, it’s hard.

They said if they had a few more dollars for groceries they could feed the kids healthier food.

"A lot of what we have around the house is like cereal and peanut butter and jelly and a lot of sugary stuff,” Kirk said. “And if we had like other stuff like that, my mom loves to eat healthy, she probably make a salad and chicken and I'll kinds of good stuff all the time if we had good good food."

"Eliminating the state sales tax on groceries is expected to result in an annual savings somewhere between $350 to $676 for a family of four," Gov. Mary Fallin said. 

That’s good news for families, but a problem for small communities.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Schulz has his concerns.

In Maud, city leaders are trying to score a deal to have a grocery store open where one used to be years ago, but under the governor’s plan, that wouldn’t help the city much.  

“If we can get it open back up in the waiver on sales tax goes through on groceries then it does the city no good. We don't get any revenue off the sales tax," said Maud City Clerk Dave Zeller.

Whereas if the governor’s plan fails, "Based on past history with what it was like before, it would definitely help. It would be some money in the city coffers," Zeller said. "As far as our city services police department fire department all that, we live and die by sales tax."

Legislators told News 9, at a time when the state is working to fill an estimated $868 million budget deficit, they doubt the governor’s grocery tax proposal will get much traction.