Government
4:39 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Jackson County Voters To Decide Medical Research Tax

Jackson County voters will decide a proposed half cent sales tax to benefit development of medical innovations and research at select area hospitals and medical schools. 

The county legislature has voted by a large margin to put the measure on the November 5 ballot.

Some legislators wanted changes if they were going to back the proposal, and they got it.

Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders promotes half cent sales tax for medical research, moments after he and county legislators put the measure on the November 5 ballot.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The alteration, passed by a vote of 7-2, now requires the county legislature appoint a member to a board overseeing finances. 

An estimated $600 million is expected to be raised in the first 10 years to hunt causes and cures of illness and disease.

The measure would raise about $40 million a year and be shared by UMKC, Children’s Mercy and St. Luke’s Hospitals as chief recipients.

Legislator James Tindall earlier had told designers of the Health Institute they needed to specifically speak to health issues facing the Black community. The document was changed to include need for the newly formed institute to address finding cures for diseases that affect minorities.

Supporter Pete Levy told legislators his group understood need for public scrutiny— “the work of the Institute would be subject to the Missouri open meeting laws and words relating to Fair Share language is in there as well and those would e applicable to all meetings conducted by the Institute.”

Backers intend to spend $1 million on the campaign. 

Although TV ads have appeared opposing the tax, there’s been no personalized opposition as yet. 

If the half cent sales tax passes in November, tax proceeds will pay for the election. If it fails, Jackson County bears the brunt of the cost.