Ed. Note – Following is an open letter from several priests and pastors in Jackson County.
Question 1 on the November 5 ballot seeks to raise $800,000,000 for medical research by the imposition of an additional .5 percent local sales tax on the citizens of Jackson County for the next 20 years. This local tax money will be primarily directed to two private hospitals and UMKC for conducting research leading to “clinical applications that positively impact the health of the world.”
Developing “Next Generation Medicine” leading to cures for the people of the world is an ambitious and worthy goal which should not be paid for by a regressive tax on the citizens of one county in a single state.
As pastors, not scientists or economists, we urge the people of Jackson County to consider three important ways Question 1 could negatively affect the health of our community:
• A sales tax is a regressive tax; it hits the poor and struggling middle class hardest: For families that work paycheck to paycheck to pay for the necessities of life, every dollar earned is a dollar spent – and therefore, a dollar taxed by Question 1. In pursuit of national cures for diseases, it makes no sense to pursue an ambitious national goal by imposing a local, regressive tax on a single county which includes some of the poorest neighborhoods and lowest household incomes in the region.
• Question 1 asks us to fund a national goal at a time when our local governments are unable to meet our own local needs. We fear that rather than creating economic development, taking $800,000,000 from Jackson County taxpayers without improving local services will be additional spur for young families to move out of Jackson County.
• Question 1 does not ensure ethical research will be conducted: There is nothing in the text of Question 1 to prevent embryo-destructive research. Although many scientists believe in the long-term potential for clinical applications from embryonic stem cell research, it destroys nascent human life and is thus immoral, just as destructive medical experimentation on the bodies of children and adults is immoral.
Question 1 is the only item on the November 5 ballot. That means proponents will find it easier to pass this tax because of low turnout.
If you feel as we do, that paying for medical research for national cures through a Jackson County sales tax is unwise on its face and is a regressive tax on the working poor and struggling middle class, please vote ‘No’ on Question 1 this November 5.
Rev. Matthew Bartulica
St. Cyril, Sugar Creek
St. Mary, Independence
Msgr. William J. Blacet, JCL
Our Lady of Good Counsel, Kansas City
Rev. John Bolderson
St. Robert Bellarmine, Blue Springs
Rev. Bernard E. Branson
St. Ann, Independence
Rev. Ernest P. Davis
St. Therese Little Flower, Kansas City
St. James, Kansas City
Rev. Ronald Elliott
St. John LaLande, Blue Springs
Msgr. Robert S. Gregory
Rev. Robert Hagan, S.J.
Guardian Angels, Kansas City
Rev. Stephen Hansen
Coronation of Our Lady, Grandview
Rev. Gregory Haskamp
St. Elizabeth, Kansas City
Rev. Brian Johnson, CSsR
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Kansas City
Rev. Robert Kerr
St. Catherine of Siena, Kansas City
Rev. Gregory J. Lockwood
Christ the King, Kansas City
Rev. Joseph H. Matt, JCL
St. Joseph the Worker, Independence
Msgr. Bradley S. Offutt
Vicar General, Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph
Rev. Joseph B. Powers
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Kansas City
Rev. Kenneth Riley, JCL
Judicial Vicar, Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph
Rev. Steven Rogers
Our Lady of Lourdes, Raytown
Rev. Patrick J. Rush
Visitation, Kansas City
Rev. Francis J. Schuele
Rev. Paul A. Turner, STD
St. Anthony, Kansas City
Rev. John Wandless
Rev. Thomas W. Wiederholt
Most Rev. Raymond J. Boland
Bishop Emeritus of Kansas City – St. Joseph
Most Rev. Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City – St. Joseph