Oklahoma Lawmakers Propose Ending Grocery Tax
Here's something you probably didn't know. In the US, there are only thirteen states that currently have a tax on groceries in place. Of those thirteen states, Oklahoma has the fourth highest tax rate. While it was a big talking point a few months ago, time has passed and I'm pretty sure everyone forgot all about it until some of our state lawmakers decided to have a go at eliminating it. It's not everything you may be picturing though.
Before you assume that before too long you could go to the store and automatically save nine-ish percent on your grocery bill, that's not how this is going to work. Inside our Lawton tax rate, there's a state tax, county tax and a city tax.
The state tax rate is 4.5%, the bulk of what remains is a municipal tax paid to the City of Lawton with the tiniest sliver being paid out to Comanche County. So the biggest savings we'll potentially see is a grocery tax reduced to 4.5%.
Still, money saved might as well be money earned. We gush over credit cards that give two and three percent back, it would be nice to save four percent automatically on our grocery bills. If you have one of those big family $300 grocery bills, you'll save about $12 each time you buy food. It still doesn't sound like much, but if you shop every two weeks, it would add up to over $300 a year. That's like getting a free trip to the grocery store once in a while.
As great as that sounds, there's always someone who will have a problem with it. You can't please everyone after all.
Those that support the grocery tax say eliminating it might have a negative effect on a cities revenue generation... but it's obvious the people saying that have no idea how taxes work. Seeing the kinds of people that manage to get elected into office, it's understandable how they could let slip such a stupid statement.
Some of the long time elected officials sincerily think they took action to help offset Oklahoma's grocery tax for families back in the 90's, but I think you and I can at least agree on this... the price of groceries now versus what they were in 1998 are greatly different. The minimal tax credit that was put on the books back then has little to no effect now.
One thought that does stand out is Texas. If you've ever vacationed or lived in Texas, you already know that groceries aren't taxed in the Lone Star state. You see the price on the shelf, that's what you pay. All the same, property taxes and road taxes are extremely high across the board down there. Some are trying to tie this to their lack of grocery tax, but I'm more convinced the high property and vehicle taxes are directly affected by the lack of a state income tax.
Cities and states have to generate revenue somewhere... While we could potentially lose our state grocery tax soon in Oklahoma, they'll find a way to get that money regardless.
Even though there's been push back on this, lawmakers say they're going to go ahead and move on with creating purposeful legislation to eliminate at least the states portion of our grocery tax. I'm confident all of us hope municipalities will find a way to do the same.
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