Lawmakers to propose legislation to end Oklahoma grocery tax

September 22, 2021

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Some Oklahoma lawmakers are working to get rid of the state's grocery tax.

Currently, Oklahomans pay a 4.5% tax at the grocery store, and many say it disproportionately impacts families in need.

There are 13 states with a grocery tax, and of those, Oklahoma is tied with South Dakota as having the fourth-highest rate.

Some of the strongest points made in favor of the tax are actually about protecting cities, but Representative John Waldron says cutting the tax wouldn't impact the budget of cities since it goes into the state's general fund.

"Municipalities also have their sales taxes, this would not be affected by a cut in the state's grocery tax. I'm sure the state can find a way to balance its budget without having to levy more taxes on the backs of working moms trying to feed their families," he said.

Waldron said he thinks working families will find a better way to spend the money saved than the legislature would.

The House of Representatives recently held a study to find out the impact the tax has on families. It showed that the sales tax credit, which is supposed to serve as a way to offset the impact of the grocery tax, hasn't been changed or updated in over two decades.

“Oklahoma has a sales tax relief credit with the intent to offset the sales tax on groceries, but the credit hasn’t changed since 1998,” said Bailey Perkins Wright, a state advocate and policy director for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma in a press release. “The price of milk is way different today for Oklahoma families than it was 23 years ago.”

Moving forward, legislation will be crafted to address the state sales tax on groceries.

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