Medical research tax proposal creates debate

JACKSON COUNTY, Mo - Members of the board of election spent Tuesday training for the big event. On the ballot, only one question: yes or no for the medical research tax.  

If this tax proposal is passed, some medical institutions in the area will be seeing large amounts of money come their way.

Election officials don't expect a large turnout.

"We're hoping for a good turnout and by good we're talking 20 to 25 percent but we probably won't be seeing more than 15 percent," Tammy Brown, Director of the Jackson County Board of Elections, said.

The proposal would increase the sales tax in Jackson county half a cent for 20 years.

It will raise $800 million for research that supporters say will lead to medical breakthroughs.

"This is really about Jackson County making an investment in translational medicine so that it's something that we're known for in the future," supporter Mary Jane Judy said.

Those against it said the tax would place an additional financial strain on struggling families.

"[It] is money out of their food budget, their transportation budget, their school supplies budget that they simply can't afford," Shawn Borich, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsible Research said.

Three institutions would benefit from the tax, Children's Mercy Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital and UMKC; combined the partnership would be called the Jackson County Institute of Translational Medicine.

"Unlike any other sales tax the amount of oversight is really a priority and i think we've address that adequately," Judy said.

The other side feels differently.

"If the public is going to be funding research, which should keep 100 percent of any profits that come from it," Borich said.

Polls open next Tuesday open at 6 a.m and close at 7 p.m. To find out where you can vote visit: https://www.kceb.org/

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