Yael T. Abouhalkah

How voters can save $1,200 next Tuesday

Updated: 2013-11-06T00:58:42Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

Several business community supporters make the following point about the $800 million medical research sales tax increase before Jackson County voters on Nov. 5.

They say the tax would create a stable source of funding — $40 million annually for 20 years — mostly for research at three institutions.

However, tax opponents (including me) can turn around this claim and look at it another way:

• The tax will create a stable burden on taxpayers, lasting 20 years.

• Backers of the tax say it will cost the average household around $5 a month, or $60 annually.

• Take that $60 and multiply it times 20 years, and the potential exists that average households would have to fork over $1,200 over those two decades for the medical research tax.

Obviously, some people will think that’s well worth the investment.

But others won’t.

I oppose this sales tax — even though it’s for a good cause — because it’s not the appropriate use of such a large sales tax imposed in only one county for something that is not a traditional public service or amenity.

In addition, this kind of medical research can be paid for in other ways — through a combination of foundation, philanthropic and federal funds — as is being done at other children’s hospitals and medical institutions throughout the nation.

So to save about $1,200 a household, voters should reject Question 1 on Nov. 5.

Oh, and don’t be lazy and stay at home — whether you support or oppose the tax. Something this important should be decided by as many people as possible. The higher the turnout, the better, next Tuesday.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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