Unenthusiastic “yes” on Jackson County’s Combat tax; “no” on Question 3

Vote "yes" to retain the COMBAT anti-drug tax.

Vote “yes” to retain the COMBAT anti-drug tax.

Voters first approved Jackson County’s anti-drug COMBAT tax almost 30 years ago for good reasons. The county wanted to treat drug users, prevent others from getting addicted, and use law enforcement to arrest and prosecute those who did use drugs. It was an innovative approach.

Unfortunately, the plan hasn’t worked out nearly as well as first envisioned.

Violent crime connected to drugs is still too high. COMBAT revenue has become embedded in ┬áthe prosecutor’s office, in law enforcement agencies such as the Kansas City Police Department, and in drug prevention and treatment programs.

Voting “Yes” on Question 1 on Tuesday to renew the quarter-cent tax for another seven years would merely keep the unfulfilling status quo. That’s part of the reason I am an unenthusiastic supporter.

Voting “no” would take the money away from the agencies that now collect it. That would force cutbacks and/or push county officials to find other ways to support what COMBAT now pays for. Voters don’t need to create that hassle or problem.

— Jackson County Question 3 asks voters to “discontinue” collecting ┬áthe sales tax on titles for motor vehicles and boats bought at dealers outside Missouri, such as in Kansas.

Vote “No” on this question and keep the tax in place.

Voting “no” is not a tax increase.

The question is on the ballot because of past court battles over it. Voters in cities and other counties in Missouri previously have approved retaining the tax.

Jackson County voters should do the same.