Research institute sales tax proposal soundly defeated on election night

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Efforts to expand medical research in Kansas City are in limbo after Tuesday night’s election. Voters overwhelmingly shot down a proposal for a sales tax for that by a margin of 84 percent (64,486 votes) to 16 percent (12,066 votes).

The proposed tax was only set to impact Jackson County and if it had passed, sales tax would have been raised a half-cent for the next 20 years. The tax would have raised $40 million a year for medical research.

Proposal supporters don’t know what lies ahead after the wide margin of defeat. They do believe they succeeded in sending the message metro-wide about the need for medical research. While few dispute the cause, the central issue is how to pay for the research.

And while a half-cent doesn’t sound like a lot, the wide margin of defeat suggests a strong aversion and now supporters must start fresh with new ideas.

“We don’t feel dejected or rejected, we’re going to be energized for the popularity of our agenda. We’re going to be more creative about how to pay for it,” David Westbrook with Children’s Mercy Hospital said.

While many Kansas Citians are philanthropic and many with private money like to donate, a great deal of those donations are earmarked for other things. That is another factor forcing proponents for medical research back to the drawing board.

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