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Proposed Jackson County Sales Tax Hike Would Boost Medical Research

Dan Verbeck

Medical, business and educational leaders have spelled out what Jackson County residents would get if a tax issue is put on the November ballot and gains voter approval to enhance health research and medical care.

If the county legislature and voters approve, a half-cent sales tax would raise $40 million a year.

Funds would be divided between Children's Mercy and St. Luke’s Hospitals and UMKC. It’s designed to attract top medical researchers to translate new findings into treatment, diagnosis and prevention of diseases.

Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is behind it. Pete Levy was its president for 19 years and said, “the passage of this tax would result in hundreds of new jobs in Kansas City, jobs not just for physicians and high paid researchers or high level researchers, but people who work in these labs who help do the research that makes this happen.”

Patrick James M.D., of the Life Sciences Institute said there would be some collaboration with KU Medical Center, although it is in Kansas and outside the funding base.

Treatment and cure for a host of diseases is ultimate goal. The Institute for Translational Research and Medicine would also establish Kansas City as a hub to draw researchers from around the world.

No opposition had surfaced in initial stages of the tax promotion campaign.

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