The Buzz

November 4, 2013

Morton to UMKC workers: “I encourage you to be informed on this important issue”

UMKC chancellor asks workers to study the health research sales tax issue, and issues a reminder they can take off work to vote.

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UMKC chancellor Leo Morton

has sent a memo to school employees, urging them to vote in tomorrow’s health research tax election.

The memo is below. Note that Morton does not say precisely


employees should vote.

You are free to guess, however:

Dear Colleague:

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is election day in Jackson County, Mo. As you are probably aware, the ballot includes a proposal that would impact our university.

First, I want to remind you of the University of Missouri System’s longstanding voting policy for employees: “All University employees may receive time off with pay for the purpose of voting … Any employee who is qualified and eligible to vote in any election held within the State of Missouri shall be excused from duty for … three (3) successive hours for the purpose of voting.”

The ballot issue seeking to create a Jackson County Institute for Translational Medicine on Hospital Hill is vitally important to our university, and our community. I encourage you to be informed on this important issue and how it relates to UMKC.

The institute would operate as a collaborative partnership among UMKC, Children’s Mercy, and Saint Luke’s Health System. The goal of this initiative is to create a world-class medical research institute in Jackson County that will help solve some of our toughest health care challenges. Local patients would have access to important new clinical trials right here in our community. The institute would work to develop cutting-edge treatments and lifesaving cures for many of the devastating diseases currently affecting our children and seniors.

This institute would significantly enhance UMKC’s reputation in academic research. It would, in fact, raise the university’s overall stature and profile, regionally, nationally and globally, benefitting all academic units.

The proposal calls for a one-half-cent increase in the county sales tax – a tax paid not just by Jackson County residents, but by commuters and visitors as well. And while nobody enjoys paying taxes, studies show the average Jackson County resident spends $700 a month on sales-taxable purchases. That comes to an additional $3.50 a month in taxes if the measure passes.

By law, the money raised from this tax will be governed by an independent board, subject to regular audits, and can only be used to support the institute. More information on this issue is available at

Thank you for taking the time to let me share this information with you today.

Leo E. Morton


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