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Wide Majority Approves Renewal Of COMBAT Anti-Drug Tax

Former Councilman and Drug Commission member Alvin Brooks and Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders celebrate the tax's renewal at the Westport Flea Market. Photo by Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR.


Kansas City, MO – Jackson County voters approved the renewal of the Community-Backed Anti-Drug Tax by a wide margin yesterday. The COMBAT sales tax raises about $20 million a year to fund drug enforcement and treatment programs.

Since 1989, the quarter cent tax has been renewed every seven years by a strong majority, and this year was no different. The wording on this year's ballot will allow police and the prosecutor to use COMBAT money not only for drug-related cases, but also to fight violent crime. Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said law enforcement had asked that the program's mission be expanded.

"You can't expand that mission too much but to allow them to begin to look into gangs, gang violence, other types of violence, and there's clearly always going to be a drug nexus or connection there," Sanders said. "That's going to allow them to do even better things in the next seven to eight years."

COMBAT funding goes to more than 80 public and non-profit agencies throughout Jackson County including police, the prosecutor's office, the jail and the school-based drug prevention program DARE.

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.
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