Melcher’s tax argument draws ridicule

During the Kansas Senate’s tax debate last week, Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, offered the novel argument that with a proposal to cut the sales tax on food from 6.3 to 4.95 percent, “we are encouraging the behavior of purchasing food and discouraging the behavior of purchasing anything else,” also calling it “social engineering” that could increase obesity in the state. That drew the notice of the Huffington Post: “Sure, there can be little doubt that an almost imperceptible decrease in the sales tax on groceries is bound to cause ordinary people to just straight-up spend all their disposable income on foodstuffs, to the detriment of all other industries.” The Wonkette blog exclaimed: “Look, Ma, we found a Republican what does not want to cut taxes!” Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, told the Huffington Post, “I have no words.” Kansas City Star columnist Steve Kraske concluded: “Melcher won’t be living down that one for awhile.”