Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: using COMBAT revenues for Jackson County jail maintenance

What it’s for

In 1989, the COMBAT tax referendum was touted to Jackson County voters as a way to reduce drug problems by supporting both law enforcement and treatment programs. Some time after that, it morphed into an “anti-violence” tax, diluting its original promise and hope.

We learned last week that these COMBAT funds were used for projects such as repairing cell doors at the jail. (Sept. 19, 1A, “Jackson anti-crime tax a piggy bank for politicians, audit says”)

Although I am strongly in favor of repairs that might reduce violent assaults of any kind, I believe that building maintenance does not fall under drug treatment.

I note that starting with the most recent reauthorization of this tax (which now raises $20 million annually), it seems to be consistently described as way to fight violence, because that is apparently what political types believe sounds better to voters.

I think the COMBAT tax needs to be repealed, used as it was originally described and subsequently renewed to address violence as it relates to drug trafficking, or it should be amended to include helping the victims of drug trafficking, protecting neighborhoods from drug trafficking and compensating communities where drug trafficking is taking the most egregious tolls.

Maybe we could even get a few dollars to address drug addiction in detention — or at least get the money out of politicians’ pockets.

- Jann Coulson, Independence