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Mayor, Police Chief Endorse COMBAT Anti-Drug Tax

Chief Jim Corwin and Mayor Mark Funkhouser in a press conference at the Jackson County Courthouse. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.

Kansas City, MO – Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser and police chief Jim Corwin both endorsed the passage of Jackson County's anti-drug sales tax today. The 20-year-old tax is up for renewal in an election November 3, 2009.

Jackson County's quarter-cent anti-drug tax, known as COMBAT, collects about $20 million a year to fund drug-related law enforcement and prevention programs If approved this year, the tax would also fund efforts to fight violent crime. Mayor Mark Funkhouser says that since 1989 when the tax was enacted, Combat has funded many important community programs .

"Some of us can remember the very dark days when this tax was first proposed and these programs were first undertaken," the Mayor said. "We've come a long way. We can't let up. We gotta keep going forward."

Police Chief Jim Corwin said that the COMBAT tax currently provides $2.2 million dollars to help fund the police's street narcotics unit. Critics of the tax question the effectiveness of COMBAT's programs, arguing that crime and drug use have spiked several times throughout the program's 20 years.

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