Study explores negative effects of state’s grocery tax

September 17, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, hosted an interim study to explore Oklahoma’s state sales tax on groceries.

The study, which included speakers from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, National Conference of State Legislatures, TSET, and the Oklahoma Municipal League, looked at how the state tax on groceries affects Oklahomans.

“We heard a lot of comments and concerns regarding the state sales tax on groceries,” Virgin said. “I feel confident leaving the study that there are people on all sides of this conversation who want to see the tax end. Now it’s about finding the political will to make it happen.”

Participants called attention to what they described as a regressive state tax system.

“Sales taxes are the most regressive types of taxes we have,” said Paul Shinn, Oklahoma Policy Institute budget and tax senior policy analyst.

Due to the reliance on sales taxes, like the grocery tax, Oklahomans making the least money pay significantly more in taxes as a percentage of their income than those making the most, Shinn said.

“Most Americans live in an area where there isn’t a state tax on groceries,” Virgin said. “Oklahomans can too. We just need to get serious about it happening here.”

Oklahoma’s current grocery sales tax credit helps, but due to an increased cost of living over the last three decades, it doesn’t go far enough, participants said.

“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.

Virgin said Oklahomans should expect legislation in the next session to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries.

(Read more)
Back to NewsBack to Media Menu

Related Posts