Voters in Kansas City will decide tomorrow whether to extend an anti-drug tax in Jackson County, which includes Kansas City, for another seven years. The Community-Backed Anti-Drug Tax, called COMBAT, was approved in 1989 and is set to expire in March 2004, the Kansas City Star says.
COMBAT is a quarter-cent sales tax expected to raise about $19.8 million this year for about 80 law enforcement, drug treatment and drug prevention agencies in the campaign against illegal drugs. Supporters credit COMBAT with closing drug houses, reforming drug addicts and reducing teen narcotics use. Critics say the continuing prevalence of drugs demonstrates the tax’s failure. They say COMBAT spends too much on law enforcement and too little on treatment and prevention.