Wednesday, November 4, 2009

COMBAT Tax Renewed

One thing I've noticed since I moved here--there are lots of opportunities to vote. Maybe too many, as it robs the voting moment of its specialness. In Vermont where I lived for several years, usually there were two opportunities to practice democracy--Town Meeting Day on the first Tuesday in March and Election Day. Occasionally, there would be a primary in August but in Vermont, I can not remember voting more than three times per year. Here, I have seen years with four or five opportunities to cast a ballot.

Yesterday there was just one issue to vote on for people in Kansas City, MO and that was to renew the COMBAT anticrime/drug tax for another decade. I figured the tax would be renewed, since opposition was scant and not very loud. People need good reasons to vote against a tax that funds seemingly good things like fighting crime and helping drug addicts--even if sometimes it seems the money is not used efficiently or particularly well. I was hoping for a smaller margin though, something on the order of 60% for and 40% against, that would send the message that taxpayers are watching, monitoring the progress of the programs and for good use of tax dollars. I am not sure that a 70% vote for puts any fear into the administrators of COMBAT programs to be spending the money well. Noted also is that turnout was tiny, less than 10% of registered voters. So a disappointing vote in several ways. Let's hope we can make the most of this tax in the coming years, because we do seem to be stuck with it.

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