On Monday, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City tossed another $400,000 into the $1 million-plus pool of money that is being spent to try to convince Jackson County voters to approve a new half-cent sales tax for medical research.
That brings the Civic Council’s total contribution to its campaign committee — Committee for Research, Treatment and Cures — to $600,000.
And it brings the grand total of contributions to the committee to $1,357,000. And Election Day — Nov. 5 — is still more than four weeks out.
The biggest pushers behind the proposal are the Hall family and the Hall Family Foundation. The Halls have long had the most clout with the Civic Council. Don Hall Jr., Hallmark Cards c.e.o., has contributed $100,000 personally.
It is puzzling to me why the Civic Council, consisting of the areas top business leaders, is dead set on the taxpayers ponying up $1 billion over 20 years for their pet project. My guess is that after having arm-twisted the County Legislature into putting the measure on the Nov. 5 ballot and now experiencing stiff resistance to their proposal, civic leaders are doubling down. They said initially that they planned on a $1 million campaign. Who knows? Maybe it will go to $2 million.
In any event, losing would be terrible for the Civic Council. After all, they’re the kingpins, right?
Their goal, I believe, is to fool just enough voters — with TV ads and feel-good brochures — to stick this tax on county residents for the next 20 years, at least. With inflation, it would generate $40 million to $50 million a year.
Here’s a closer look at the money being spent. For the sake of argument, let’s say that…
- 50,000 people vote in the Nov. 5 election – about 20,000 in Kansas City and 30,000 in Jackson County outside Kansas City. (This might surprise you but the county has about a third more registered voters than the Kansas City part of the county.)
- 24,999 people vote for the tax and 25,001 people vote against it. (Wouldn’t that be a bea-u-ti-ful thing?)
- Based on the $1,357,000 invested so far, that would mean the proponents would have spent about $55 for each “yes” vote.
That’s a pretty, pretty penny, penny, as Larry David might say.
One more hypothesis: Let’s say the proponents do, in fact, lose…
It would be the most ignominious political loss in Kansas City history.
No wonder they’re throwing money around like it’s grass seed.
Here is your updated contribution report for the Committee for Research, Treatment and Cures. (Under state law, campaign committees must report contributions of $5,000 or more within 48 hours of receipt.)
**The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City**, $600,00
**Children’s Mercy Hospital**, $100,000
**Donald Hall Jr.**, $100,000
**Hallmark Global Services**, $100,000
**J.E. Dunn Construction**, $100,000
**John G. Sherman**, chairman and c.e.o of Inergy L.P., $100,000
**Robert Kipp**, former Crown Center Development president, $50,000
**Burns and McDonnell**, engineering company, $50,000
**Tom McDonnell**, retired DST c.e.o., $25,000
**Irvine O. Hockaday Jr**., former Hallmark Cards c.e.o., $20,000
**William Gautreaux**, a top Inergy LP officer (see John Sherman), $10,000
**Wagstaff & Cartmell** law firm, $10,000
**St. Luke’s Foundation**, $10,000
**St. Luke’s Health System**, $10,000;
**Husch Blackwell** law firm, $10,000;
**Dr. L. Patrick James**, of the KC Area Life Sciences Institute, $10,000
**The Polsinelli** law firm, $10,000
**Lockton Companies**, $10,000
**Stinson Morrison Hecker** law firm, $7,500
Editor’s note: You can see the same post on my campaign committee’s website — stopabadcure.org. (Be sure to tell your friends. The key to beating this proposal is voter turnout. The greater the turnout, the more likely the chances of the proposal going down to defeat.