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  • Friday, April 29, 2016 2:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Big retailers would pay $200,000 to the state for an initial liquor license

    Uncork Kansas says its plan would generate $40 million for the state

    BY EDWARD M. EVELD  eeveld@kcstar.com      TOPEKA 

    A group that backs bringing liquor sales to Kansas grocery and convenience stores is offering lawmakers a plan to raise $40 million at a time when the state needs to close a $290 million budget shortfall.

    Uncork Kansas says the stores would be willing to pay as much as $200,000 each for an initial state license to sell beer, wine and spirits. For smaller stores, the initial license would be $10,000.

    “Our customers are ready for this change, and we’re pleased to bring this free market solution to the governor and Legislature knowing it will infuse the Kansas budget with much needed cash,” said Jessica Lucas, spokesperson for Uncork Kansas, said in a statement.

    Under current law, only liquor stores in Kansas are allowed to sell full-strength beer, wine and spirits.

    Grocery and convenience stores are limited to selling 3.2 percent beer.

    Tuck Duncan, a lobbyist for the Kansas Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association, an organization that opposes wine and liquor in grocery stores, called the proposal “a blatant bribe” and that enacting it would be detrimental to small retailers.

    The Uncork group is calling the offer the “Uncork Kansas Free Market Budget Bailout.” After the initial license buy-in, annual licensing fees would generate about $6.5 million a year to the state, Lucas said.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article74640347.html#storylink=cpy

  • Friday, April 29, 2016 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A man carries a case of beer as products from Coors, Miller and Anheuser-Busch are stacked in a grocery store Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) Enlarge photo

    Associated Press

    April 29, 2016

    TOPEKA — A group of grocery and convenience stores in Kansas has proposed a new plan for expanding liquor sales, saying it would generate a $41 million cash infusion toward the state's budget deficit.

    The Wichita Eagle reports that the Uncork Kansas coalition is proposing that large retailers would be able to buy full liquor licenses directly from the state. That would eliminate current laws that limit them to selling beer with an alcohol percentage less than 3.2 percent.

    The new plan abandons earlier efforts that would've required big-box stores to buy liquor licenses of small businesses. Those businesses are currently the only stores in the state allowed to sell full-strength beer, wine and spirits.

    Uncork Kansas represents major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Dillons and Hy-Vee, and convenience stores, such as QuikTrip.

    Originally published at: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2016/apr/29/group-retailers-offers-new-plan-kansas-liquor-sale/

  • Thursday, April 28, 2016 1:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Friday, April 29 2016 - Uncork is proposing to buy into the Kansas liquor system and destroy hundreds of businesses and jobs currently occupied by Kansas taxpayers who are already paying property taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes and liquor taxes.

    Their inflated numbers pretend that there is no cost to their proposal and that liquor deregulation will sell more alcohol in Kansas.  They claim it could bring back liquor sales from Missouri, although the sales tax on groceries is lower in Missouri, the tax on alcoholic liquor is lower in Missouri, and the tax on fuel is lower in Missouri.

    Meanwhile, putting strong beer, wine and spirits into the big box stores will put liquor at the hands of underage workers and customers.

    The Legislature would need to create and adopt legislation in order for this to happen.  Currently, legislative leaders are pushing to end the 2016 Session as quickly as possible - with conference committees meeting multiple times a day to wrap up legislation that has already passed one chamber or another and leaders attempting to craft a palatable budget fix. 

    One time money for liquor deregulation is a cynical response to a serious State budget issue. 

  • Tuesday, March 01, 2016 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wichita City Council approved changes Tuesday to the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance. Most of the changes are to align local laws with state laws. Jaime Green File photo



    If you buy, sell or consume alcohol in Wichita, you’ll want to understand the new changes to the city’s alcoholic beverages ordinance.

    Most of the changes are to align local laws with state laws. The Wichita City Council unanimously approved the changes at its meeting Tuesday.

    Here are some of the key points:

    ▪ Samples can be offered at most venues selling liquor. This was allowed under state law, but not addressed in local law.

    ▪ You can provide free liquor and cereal malt beverages at charitable events, political events and events supporting the arts.

    ▪ Businesses will have two-year licensing for liquor sales, which aligns with state licensing requirements.

    ▪ Rules about alcohol consumption at parks won’t change. Events held there will still be required to get licenses.

    ▪ Possession and not just consumption of liquor in public is now a violation. This is to help with enforcement so police don’t have to wait until someone in public actually takes a drink of alcohol, said city attorney Jennifer Magana.

    ▪ Guests at private events are defined by law as people who receive personal invitations. Someone paying is not a “guest.”

    Defining who is a guest at a private event can help police with enforcement of “after hours” parties, Magana said. For example, that could include a house party where people are charged a cover for alcohol, which is illegal.

    City staff in the law, police, finance, zoning and fire departments have reviewed the ordinance changes for the past two years.

    Kelsey Ryan: 316-269-6752@kelsey_ryan

    Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article63332282.html#storylink=cpy

  • Friday, February 26, 2016 2:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association sent a letter to all Kansas liquor store owners this week describing their Strong Beer Trigger Bill - Senate Bill 458.  

    Read the letter here.

    Apparently, KBWA was responding to a message that was sent by Standard Beverage Corporation to retailers earlier in the week criticizing the Strong Beer Bill.  Read the Standard Beverage message here.

    Today, Standard Beverage reached out to retailers again - sharing a list of their talking points opposing the KBWA strong beer trigger bill.  Read the Standard Beverage talking points.

    The Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers opposes SB 458 and encourages retailers to contact their legislators to oppose Strong Beer legislation.  

  • Wednesday, February 17, 2016 11:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Trigger Bill would take effect if cereal malt beverage market changes.

    This week, the Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association requested introduction of a strong beer bill.  The bill - called a "Trigger Bill" by the proponents - was introduced by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Bill.

    Read the legislation here

    The concept of the bill is to allow the sale of strong beer in the grocery and convenience stores if the Kansas market for cereal malt beverage should change.  The legislation is supposed to "protect" beer wholesalers from potential loss of sales that might occur if public ballots in Oklahoma or Colorado do away with 3.2 sales in those states.

    KABR learned that this legislation was being drafted in late January and board members have been reaching out to their beer wholesalers to learn more about it.  We encourage all retailers to visit with their beer wholesalers about this proposal.  The Board is concerned about the bill and opposes expanding the sale of Strong Beer to thousands of corporate chain retailers.

    The Kansas Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association and Kansas Association for Responsible Liquor Laws have also indicated they will not support this legislation.

    We do not know when or if the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee will hold a public hearing.

    There has been talk that changes in Oklahoma or Colorado might result in the beer manufacturers stopping the production of 3.2 beer in the future.  This seems unlikely, with a state like Utah selling  more than 25% of the 3.2 beer in the country - and very unlikely to change.  It is also true that California now requires 3.2 beer to be sold in large stadiums.  We will keep you informed as the debate evolves.

  • Monday, January 18, 2016 7:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As liquor store owners, we know that our businesses require hard work.  This is true for day to day sales in our stores and it is true for maintaining a market structure where Kansas owned small businesses can continue to succeed.  Kansas liquor retailers have proven they have what it takes to stand up to Uncork Kansas in the Statehouse in Topeka.  Uncork Kansas has more lobbyists and more money, but their legislation – House Bill 2200 – was not successful in 2015.  Why?  KABR is working with small and large retailers to promote truth and fairness for Kansas small businesses against intimidating odds.  We work with our partners – Keep Kansans in Business, KS Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Association and the Kansas Association for Responsible Liquor Laws to keep legislators informed.

    While the 2016 Session has had a slow start - Uncork says they will push their agenda again this year.  HB 2200 remains on House general orders and could be pulled up for floor debate any time. 

    In 2015, there were three proposals by the grocery stores and convenience stores Uncork coalition to sell strong beer, wine and spirits.  A Single Strength Beer amendment was defeated by the Senate on a vote of 11 to 26 on May 14th.  In the House of Representatives, HB 2200 passed committee but was left “below the line”, never seeing floor action.  It is still alive in 2016. 

    KABR has been very successful in recent years, but we need your participation!  We need your action to continue to win.  We need your input in order to speak accurately on behalf of Kansas retailers and we need your membership dues to sustain these efforts.

  • Saturday, October 03, 2015 12:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are very sorry to report that Joan Kempf, owner of JD Liquor in Arkansas City, passed away in September.  Joan was a very active KABR member and served on the Board of Directors.  We will miss Joan.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband John and her family.


    Joan Richardson Kempf

    Obituary Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 12:00 am  Arkansas City Traveler

    Joan Richardson Kempf, 81, of Arkansas City, passed away Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, at her residence.

    She was the beloved wife of John D. Kempf.

    Cremation has been effected.

    Services will Sept. 29, 2015, at the First United Methodist Church in Arkansas City.

    The Reverend Stephanie Wall Brown will officiate.

    Joan was born Jan. 4, 1934, to Rutherford Matthew Richardson and Doris (Jones) Richardson in Camden, Ark.

    She attended Fairview High school in Camden, graduating in 1952.

    Joan first worked as a secretary for the Arkansas Press Association in Little Rock, Ark.

    She then earned her wings as a stewardess for American Airlines and was stationed in Dallas, Texas.

    While living in Dallas, she met and married 1st Lieutenant Francis Plonowski, a US Air Force pilot.

    Together, they lived in various locations throughout the United States and overseas including England, Morocco, France and Japan.

    During this time she worked as a keypunch operator for the Frigidaire Corporation and as a homemaker raising two children.

    The family moved to Horseheads, N.Y., where Joan worked as a secretary for the General Electric Company.

    It was at GE that Joan met John.

    The couple married on Aug. 1, 1981, and moved to Grove City, Pa.

    They settled in Arkansas City in 1984.

    Joan has been the owner-operator of Kempf Liquor and JD Liquor stores in Arkansas City since 1989.

    She was an active member of Soroptomist International where she served as Governor of the South Central Region from 2004-2006.

    Joan enjoyed cooking, crossword puzzles, crafts, golf and entertaining.

    She is survived by her husband, John D. Kempf, of the home; daughter, Cynthia Peverall, and husband, David, of Alexandria, Va.; son, Michael Plonowski, of Denver, Colo.; sister, Dona Davenport, of Tucson, Ariz.; grandchildren, Ian, Cole and Adam Peverall; stepchildren, Jennifer Kempf, of Hyattsville, M.D., Jay Kempf, and wife, Leslie, of Warren ,Vt., Andrew Kempf, and wife, Beth Ann, of Woodstck, N.Y., Leslie Trembly, and husband, Dennis, of Watkins, Glen, N.Y.; stepgrandchildren, Katie, David and Janie Kempf, and JP and Robbie Trembly.

    Joan was preceded in death by her parents, and sister, Joyce Richardson.

    Memorials have been established with the Soroptomists in Arkansas City and Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pa.

    Contributions may be made through the funeral home.

    Arrangements are under the direction of Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home, Arkansas City.

    Online condolences may be made at www.rindt-erdman.com.

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015 12:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    June 12 2015 – Friday – marked the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.  It was the longest legislative session in Kansas history at 113 days. The Legislature will return on Friday, June 26 for sine die – the procedural “last day”.  Legislators will have to take a vote on Friday, to correct an inconsistency in the final tax legislation.

    Most of those who live and work daily with the Legislature would mark this session as a painful one.  The choices that were left on the table at the end were not what anyone would have wanted – passing the largest tax increase in Kansas history, when measured in terms of overall revenue at $385 million.   And, although Governor Brownback is painting the final tax legislation as consistent with the objectives of the “path to zero” income tax experiment, the Republicans who dominate the Kansas Legislature’s majority are hoping mightily that their efforts will have been enough to balance the budget for at least two years.  Some advisors have indicated that a least two elements of the revenue package are not reliable, and if the taxation of LLC guaranteed payments does not raise $23.7 m and the tax amnesty plan does not raise $30 m, legislators may have to raise taxes again next year.  That is something they will need to avoid, and hope that the voters won’t remember this session when they cast their votes in November 2016.


    SB 112 is the mega-budget bill that had been agreed – for the most part – early in May by the conference committee and was ultimately adopted.  Read the conference committee report description here.  It was further amended by the budget conference committee to include most of the Governor’s Budget Amendments and a few omnibus adjustments.   

    The budget bill includes cuts to most state agencies and flat funding for many others, while covering the increasing costs of Medicaid.  It provides for the next two fiscal years' funding and is on top of the FY 15 rescission bill passed early in the session (which cut nearly $100 million from FY 15), and separate funding bills for K-12 schools (the block grant bill) and the Judiciary.  The K-12 Block Grant Bill eliminates Kansas' school finance formula, replacing it with block grants.  The Judiciary Bill funds the Supreme Court and Judicial System at levels below their request, and includes a clause that will drop all funding for the Judiciary if the Supreme Court should rule against a 2014 law taking away the authority of the Supreme Court to appoint lower court judges.

    It was a risky plan – to hold over the mega-budget agreement until the veto session and attempt to push it through without further major adjustments.  The Governor and administration officials wanted to keep the budget as agreed during the regular session and avoid deeper cuts into the agencies.  The Governor had promised K-12 and Regents Universities that no further reductions would be made. But for many legislators, the 4% state general fund cuts, the transfers of fee fund balances and reductions to existing programs already contained in the budget were forgotten in the months since the regular session.  Many were pushing for deeper reductions to state spending rather than voting for any kind of tax increases.   Estimates varied, but an additional 6.2% across the board state general fund cut was promoted as a way to close the $406 million gap and avoid tax increases altogether.  “Kansas doesn’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem,” was the quote often heard as the House and Senate each debated and rejected multiple variations of HB 2109 and SB 270 – the tax bills.

    The threat level was increased in the first week of June, as Shawn Sullivan, Budget Director, warned legislators that the state might have to lay off thousands of state employees if the budget bill was not adopted soon.  The House moved forward and adopted H Sub for SB 112 with no debate on June 3.   The Senate, however, would not debate the budget bill until it had approved a revenue package.  Saturday, June 6, the House and Senate quickly adopted a brief change to Kansas statute to prevent state employee furloughs.  The temporary fix in SB 11 classifies all state employees as “essential” for the balance of the month of June.  This prevents the furlough of 24,000 state employees deemed “nonessential” who received notices on Friday.  Read KHI article.

    Sunday, June 7, after passing the conference committee report on S Sub for HB 2109, the revenue package – raising $406 million revenue in this version – the Senate adopted H Sub for SB 112, the major budget bill of the 2015 legislative session.  Although many hoped the Senate action would lead to House approval the next day – and adjournment, it would be five more days (and two more very late nights) before the veto session would end.

    To form the state budget for FY 15, FY 16 and FY 17, in addition to H Sub for SB 112, the Legislature passed a rescission bill (further reducing the FY 15 budget early in the session), a Judiciary budget bill, and the K-12 block grant funding bill. 


    Read an outline of the tax legislation HEREIt took 113 days for the Kansas Legislature to pass tax legislation to pay for the FY 16- FY 17 State Budget and close a $406 million shortfall.  Ultimately, the Legislature chose to compel the Governor to take responsibility for $50 million of that total.  (Many have forgotten that the earlier proposals from the administration had filled in another $400 million through FY 15 allotments and internal transfers beginning in December 2014. 

    The final tax package is a combination of S Sub for HB 2109 as adopted by the Senate on June 7 and the tax trailer bill H Sub for SB 270 – written to amend HB 2109 in order to gain passage in the House.   A third piece of the puzzle is the modified fee plan for managed care organizations proposed by the Governor’s original budget, which brings in $47.8 million by drawing federal funds into the Medicaid program.

    Multiple combinations of revenue ideas were put forward, debated and ultimately voted up or down in the last 23 days of the session.  In some ways, the development of the revenue package was one of the most democratic processes we have seen in the Legislature for some time.  The Senate debated its tax bill for several days, with multiple amendments considered, before putting HB 2109 into conference committee.  Once in conference, it took five conference committee reports to find a plan that was not rejected by one chamber or the other.  This meant multiple floor debates in each chamber discussing the options.

    The final tax package includes:

    • -          State Sales Tax Increase from 6.15% to 6.5%  ($164 m)  (H 2109 as passed by the Senate increased to 6.55%)
    • -          Increases cigarette taxes 50 cents per pack ($40 m)
    • -          Amends the 2012 tax exemption for LLCs to tax “guaranteed payments” ($23.7 m)
    • -          Reduces itemized income tax deductions ($97 m)
    • -          Creates tax amnesty program for delinquent tax payments ($30 m)
    • -          Freezes income tax rates that are scheduled to decrease ($26.4 m)
    • -          Raises $384.7 million for FY 16 (H 2109 as passed by the Senate would have raised $406 m)
    • -          Requires the Governor to cut an additional $50 million to reach an ending balance of $86 million for FY 16   (We do not know where these cuts will occur, although a significant portion is likely to come from IT.)
    • -          Eliminates income taxes for the state’s 388,000 lowest income tax paying citizens in FY 17
    • -          Sets a 2.5% limit for revenue growth – triggering income tax rate reductions whenever revenue exceeds the limit (H 2109 as passed by the Senate included 3% limit)
    • -          Maintains the current food sales tax rebate (H 2109 as passed by the Senate repealed the rebate, but reduced the sales tax rate on food to 4.95%.   Legislators hope that reducing food sales tax rates can be achieved in a future session.)

    When the Senate approved S Sub for HB 2109 on June 7, it included two very controversial sections.  First, the sunset of numerous sales tax exemption statutes by 2018 – with a committee created to review and recommend whether or not those exemptions should remain in law.   This provision caused great concern for hospitals, non-profits and others.   The section was dropped from the final package, but the Legislature plans to spend time next session reviewing sales tax exemptions for possible repeal.  This exercise has been done in the past, without successfully reforming the exemption statutes in the way that proponents would like to see.

    Second, a property tax lid provision that would require a public vote whenever local governments raised property taxes beyond a certain rate.   The final package loosens the restrictions, allowing for increases based on rate of inflation, infrastructure, road construction, bonds and interest, state and federal mandates, etc.

    At the end, there was a joint meeting of House and Senate Republicans where the Governor’s staff threatened terrible budget cuts within 3 days.  Legislative leaders urged the caucus to make the very difficult votes needed to end the session.   Democrats and moderate Republicans held firm, unwilling to go on the record voting for any tax increases – most stating that they would not help to solve the budget problems they believe were caused by the income tax cuts of 2012 and 2013.  This meant that the Republican conservatives were then fragmented into smaller contingents, mostly including what could be called the center right and the ultra-conservatives.  It was these groups that had to forge a compromise to adopt a revenue plan in order to balance the budget.  But for some to move away from their anti-taxation principles was extremely difficult, and there were rifts created and relationships marred.   The lessons of the 2010 and 2012 elections were quite clear – with groups such as the Kansas Chamber, Americans for Prosperity, and the Kansas Policy Institute raining postcards into legislative races against those deemed as “tax and spend” politicians.  It will be interesting to see how many conservative Republicans will have to pay a similar price in 2016 for voting for the 2015 tax increases – being touted as the largest tax increase in Kansas history.

    Read KHI Article: Why the Legislature is Struggling to Pass a Tax Plan.

  • Tuesday, June 02, 2015 2:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Posted: June 2, 2015 - 11:51am

    Kansas already has the nation's second-highest sales tax for food, leaving grocers and child advocates wary of a potential increase as lawmakers wrangle with a $400 million budget gap.

    ByJustin Wingerter


    As the Kansas Legislature continues its prolonged search for a solution to the state's $400 million budget gap, grocers and child nutrition advocates are watching what happens to the state’s sales tax rate for unprepared food.

    Most states and the District of Columbia don’t collect sales tax on food and many states that do offer a lower tax rate for food compared to other items. Kansas, however, currently taxes food at the same rate – 6.15 percent – as other consumer goods. Only Mississippi, with its 7 percent sales tax rate, places a higher state sales tax on food purchases than Kansas.

    In a plan that didn’t pass the Kansas Senate on Monday, the sales tax rate on food would fall to 6 percent but not until six months after the overall sales tax rate was increased to 6.5 percent. On Saturday morning, Gov. Sam Brownback put forth a plan that would not create a separate sales tax rate for food, meaning the rate for food would increase to 6.5 percent.

    Half of Kansas’ four neighboring states, Oklahoma and Missouri, tax unprepared food sales. Oklahoma’s tax rate is 4 percent while Missouri’s is 1.225 percent.

    John McCormick, president and CEO of the Retail Grocers Association of Greater Kansas City, represents grocery stores in both Kansas and Missouri. McCormick says residents on Kansas’ northern and eastern borders often cross into Nebraska and Missouri for cheaper groceries.

    “It’s just one more thing that could, and does, push people across the line,” McCormick said. “Gas is fairly cheap right now so they may drive across for cigarettes and liquor and while they’re there, they’re going to buy their groceries over there.”

    McCormick said minor changes to the sales tax on food would create a lot of work for grocery store employees, who must electronically reset the rates each item is taxed at, while providing very few savings for consumers.

    Shannon Cotsoradis, CEO of the Topeka-based nonprofit child advocacy group Kansas Action for Children, agrees.

    “That’s not the kind of modification that’s really going to make a difference for struggling families,” Cotsoradis said.

    Cotsoradis said the state’s comparatively high tax rate on food forces the state’s poorest families to decide between buying quality food and paying bills, such as rent and electricity. It also curbs the ability of low-income parents to buy nutritious food for their children, prompting them to purchase low-quality food in bulk instead, according to Cotsoradis.

    Kansas City-based nonprofit group KC Healthy Kids points to a survey conducted last year by Fort Hays State University researchers which found 73.5 percent of the 2,203 Kansas adults surveyed supported eliminating the sales tax on food while 13.1 percent somewhat supported it.

    “In addition to making healthy food more affordable for Kansans, cutting the food tax could help smaller and rural grocery businesses in the state by encouraging customers to shop in Kansas rather than in neighboring states with lower food taxes,” the group argues.

    McCormick said he also supports eliminating the sales tax on food.

    “I’m a proponent of zero taxes on unprepared food,” McCormick said. “That would help the lower-income wage earners.”

    While Kansas Action for Children has supported eliminating the sales tax for food in the past, Cotsoradis said the group isn’t lobbying for it in the current political climate. Instead, she’s hoping lawmakers “hold the line” and ensure the rate isn’t increased.

    A report released Monday by KC Healthy Kids and Wichita State University researchers found Kansas’ sales tax on food is regressive, hitting the budgets of low-income families and individuals significantly harder than middle- and upper-class consumers.

    “For the case of a family of three living in a metropolitan area, we find that the incidence of taxing groceries is under 0.2 percent of household income for those with income greater than $150,000 per year, while it is over 5 percent of household income for those households with income less than $10,000 per year,” the researchers wrote.

    Justin Wingerter can be reached at (785) 295-1100 orjustin.wingerter@cjonline.com.
    Follow Justin on Twitter@JustinWingerter.

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