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Voters Approve JoCo Public Safety Sales Tax

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Photo by Steve Bell
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Johnson County Legislature chair Annabeth Surbaugh says the sales tax extension shows most voters trust their legislators forsight and stewardship.

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-740357.mp3

Johnson County gave a 53 to 47 nod to extending its one-quarter-cent tax indefinitely. Previously the tax was devoted to the public schools. County legislative chair Annabeth Surbaugh said the majority recognized that the sales tax is the best way to finance expansions of the jail and juvenile facilities and programs... and build a new crime lab.

Surbaugh said, "Half the people in our jails are not Johnson Countians. We're talking about a sales tax that is collected roughly a third from non-Johnson Countians. To me it seems the smartest way to do it... and to share it."

The Kansas City Star and some citizens' groups opposed the tax, partly because it will apparently be used for operating the facilities as well as capital improvements. Surbaugh says that won't set a new precedent. Cities in the county share in the proceeds of the tax, with the county expecting almost $19 million annually and the cities to split about $10.5 million. Steve Bell, KCUR News.

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