On a day when the Kansas City Business Journal retracted its earlier endorsement of the proposed half-cent sales tax for medical research, the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City pitched another $100,0000 onto the huge pile of money being spent to try to pass the measure.
The Civic Council — whose members are primarily the CEOs of the area’s largest businesses and the managing partners of the most prestigious law firms — has now invested $700,000 in the campaign.
And still, not once, to the best of my knowledge, has a member of the Civic Council shown up to speak in favor of it. It’s always people representing the Civic Council. Even Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, who championed the idea of putting the proposal on the ballot, has abandoned the effort, at least publicly.
Another contribution that was reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission today was $20,000 from the St. Luke’s Foundation. That brings the total St. Luke’s investment to a whopping $70,000 — $40,000 from St. Luke’s Health System and $30,000 from the foundation.
St. Luke’s Health System, of course, is one of three institutions that would share $36 million a year in new sales tax proceeds, if voters were to approve Jackson County Question 1 on Nov. 5. The other chief beneficiaries would be Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics and UMKC.
Other new entries into the contribution sweepstakes for the proponents are:
Tension Envelopes and the Health Alliance of MidAmerica, $10,000 each, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City and the Kansas City Chiefs, $7,500 each.
The view from this web perch, however, is that the nearly $2 million that the proponents probably will end up spending is headed down the tubes.
The latest setback for the Citizens for Research, Treatments and Cures campaign committee was the Business Journal’s capitulation. The weekly endorsed the proposal in mid-August, about two weeks before the county legislature even voted to put the measure on the ballot.
Last week, when Business Journal Editor Brian Kaberline was interviewing me about the campaign, I turned the conversation to his paper’s endorsement, saying: “What the heck were you guys thinking about, endorsing the proposal before the legislature had even put it on the ballot?”
He paused for a second and said something like, “I wish we would have waited on that a bit.”
In Friday’s edition, the paper said that its editorial board had had concerns about the proposal initially but that “enthusiasm for the overall goal of building on the area’s existing life sciences efforts” eclipsed those concerns.
“But a closer examination of the issue brings us to new ground as an editorial board,” the editorial went on to say.
Well, thank God. And let’s give the editorial board credit for admitting it was wrong.
…Here is a list of the cures committee’s major contributors as of today, Friday, Oct. 25.
- 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;
- St. Luke’s Health System, $40,000;
- KCP&L, $25,000;
- Mariner Holdings, $25,000.
- Tom McDonnell, retired DST c.e.o., $25,000;
- Irvine O. Hockaday Jr., former Hallmark Cards c.e.o., $20,000;
- Randall O’Donnell, Children’s Mercy CEO, $15,000
- William Gautreaux, a top Inergy LP officer (see John Sherman), $10,000;
- Wagstaff & Cartmell law firm, $10,000;
- St. Luke’s Foundation, $30,000;
- Kansas City Southern Railway, $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;
- Tension Envelopes, $10,000;
- Health Alliance of Mid-America, $10,000
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, $7,500
- Kansas City Chiefs, $7,500
That’s a total of $1.71 million. The next deadline for a full disclosure report with the Missouri Ethics Commission is 5 p.m. Monday.
You can see this story and much more about the proposed half-cent sales tax at stopabadcure.org.