Along with a president and numerous other public offices, Johnson County voters on Nov. 4 will decide whether to increase their sales tax rate one-eighth of a cent to benefit research programs in the county, including cancer trials at Kansas University.
The Johnson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday voted 6-1 to place the sales-tax question on the ballot.
If approved by voters, the proposal would establish the Johnson County Education Research Triangle Authority.
The authority would use the sales tax increase to fund projects and programs at the KU Edwards Campus, KU Medical Center's northeast Johnson County location, and Kansas State University's campus in Olathe.
The tax increase is projected to raise $15 million the first year and would grow slightly each year. The proceeds will be divided equally between the three locations.
David Adkins, KU vice chancellor of external affairs, said the measure would enhance higher education opportunities and science and technological development in Johnson County.
"It's a continuation of Johnson County's rich legacy of recognizing the quality of life is guaranteed only through investments in educational opportunities," Adkins said.
No formal opposition has formed, but Adkins said any tax increase proposal will face a tough time at the ballot especially in times of a worsening economy and rising gasoline prices.
Johnson County Commissioner John Toplikar was the lone vote against the measure. In the past, Toplikar has criticized the tax increase as unnecessary to spur economic development.
Numerous state and Johnson County leaders, however, support the proposal.
If approved, the research authority board would have seven members. KU would appoint two members, while the governor, Kansas Board of Regents, Johnson County Commission, Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees and Kansas State University would each pick one board member.