“No Taxation Without Representation!”

(The following is a guest post written by Ania Bishop, a young pro-life advocate.)

The voting citizens of Jackson County, MO, have an important decision to make on November 5th, 2013. (Note to voters living outside of Jackson County: Please help us fight this tax by praying and informing your friends who live in Jackson County about it.)

“No taxation without representation!”

This cry resounded in the Thirteen Colonies during the years before the American War for Independence. The American colonists had previously enjoyed the same rights as Englishmen, but now they were being forced to pay taxes imposed by King George III and the British Parliament. The colonists had no representatives in parliament, so they believed this taxation to be unjust. They endured through the Navigation Acts (1763), Sugar Act (1764), Quartering Act (1765), Stamp Act (1765), Townshend Acts (1767), Tea Act (1772), and finally, the Intolerable or Coercive Acts (1774).[1] These acts, among other occurrences within the colonies, stirred the colonists to action—they realized the time had come to fight to protect their God-given rights as individuals.

Today, we are facing a vote that will determine whether or not we have an additional half-cent sales tax in Jackson County. “But that’s nothing in comparison to the taxes the colonists faced” you may be thinking. Before you continue in that thought, please carefully read the ballot language for the special election on November 5th, 2013:

QUESTION No. 1

Shall the County of Jackson impose a sales tax at the rate of one-half of one percent for a period of 20 years solely for the purpose of promoting economic development by establishing a medical research and development institute in collaboration with and governed by an independent board composed of Children’s Mercy Hospital, Saint Luke’s Hospital, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute and Jackson County, that would create healthcare related jobs in the County and develop medical cures and discoveries for human diseases? All of the proceeds of this tax shall be deposited in a special account separate from the Jackson County general fund and any other special funds and utilized only for the purposes approved by the voters and set forth herein. An annual independent audit of these funds will be overseen by an oversight and audit board appointed by the County Executive and will be reported to the public and the Jackson County Legislature. [Underlining added by author.]

                                               

Now that you have read the ballot language, you may be simply reluctant to think of paying another tax. But this ballot issue is much deeper than just another tax. Let’s examine several points regarding the phrases found within its scope:

1.       TAXES DO NOT CREATE JOBS

“Economic development” refers to “job creation,” “job opportunities,” “commercialization of new products,” and the “starting up of new companies.”[2] Proponents of this tax would have you believe that voting ‘yes’ would “create hundreds of jobs and generate hundreds of millions in economic growth.”[3]

According to Freedom Inc., “…The translational research tax may create high paying jobs for people who already have high paying jobs. Now is not the time to ask the poor, the unemployed and the underemployed people who can least afford it to bear the burden of an additional tax for 20 years.”[4] If you look at the “equality” aspect of this sales tax, it would be unfair to take money from the poor to pay the rich, making them richer! The basic Jackson County sales tax is currently 5.5%, so if the tax is approved, it would jump to 6%. (Kansas City’s sales tax rate is already 7.8%, and would jump to 8.5%—the same as Overland Park’s sales tax!)[5] The 5.5% figure does not even include Independence, Blue Springs, and other areas within Jackson County which already have higher sales taxes.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines TAX, v.t. To lay, impose or assess upon the citizens a certain sum of money or amount of property, to be paid to the public treasury, or to the treasury of a corporation or company, to defray the expenses of the government or corporation, &c. Think about it: since when did “imposing a certain sum of money upon the citizens” create jobs? Taxes burden the economy, stifle business growth, and drain hard-working citizens of their income. Taxes may reallocate jobs, but they DO NOT create them!

2.        “TRANSLATIONAL  MEDICAL RESEARCH” IS TOO VAGUE

Revenue from the sales tax would pay for “translational medical research” and “expanding the research currently being performed on illnesses that affect the minority community in Jackson County.”1 (“Translational research” is “…used to ‘translate’ findings in basic research quickly into medical practice and meaningful health outcomes”)[6]

While medical research is generally thought to be positive, this vague specification leaves the door wide open for any kind of research—including unethical  experiments, human cloning, and human embryonic stem cell research. (There is no pro-life protective language found in the Jackson County Legislative documents for the tax.)[7] Harvesting embryonic stem cells takes the life of a human being, thus denying the God-given rights of an individual. Science has already proven adult stem cells to be safe and effective, resulting in actual clinical treatments for patients, while embryonic stem cells have not—so why should we, as taxpayers, be funding ineffective and harmful research? History has taught us that government-controlled research with little or no limitation results in the downfall and destruction of a nation (i.e., Hitler’s Nazi experimental research on the Jews in Germany.)

The power to tax is the power to destroy

3.       HOSPITALS STAND TO GAIN—NOT CITIZENS

The sales tax increase would raise an estimated $800 million over the next 20 years. The ballot language refers to “an annual independent audit of these funds”—but guess who is in charge of appointing the audit board? The Jackson County Executive, Mike Sanders, who voted to put the tax on the ballot in the first place! This gives the “independent audit board” no real accountability.

Hospitals already make plenty of money which could be used for medical research, and private individuals should be free to donate money at their will for such purposes—taxpayers should not be forced to fund research. Consider also that the hospitals and research institutes benefitting from this tax have ties outside Jackson County. There is no guarantee that the revenue would stay within the county (or state, for that matter), meaning that Jackson County citizens would possibly be funding outside research!

We have examined only a small portion of the impact a half-cent sales tax would make on Jackson County citizens within the next 20 years. Please continue to research, share with others, and vote “NO” on Tuesday, November 5th!

The time has come for us to be stirred to action, and fight for our God-given rights as individuals, just as our Founding Fathers did so many years ago. LIBERTY, OR TAXES—WHICH WILL YOU CHOOSE?


[1] All-American History Volume 1 by Celeste Rakes

[2] Phrases are taken directly from the Floor Amendment in the County Legislature of Jackson County, MO, August 26th, 2013.

[3] Promotion flyer paid for by Committee for Research Treatments and Cures

[6] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Translational research”

[7] Missouri Right to Life Memorandum on Jackson County Ballot Issue for Sales Tax, Nov. 5, 2013, www.missourilife.org

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