Will you vote to add 32 police officers in Benton County?

Will you vote to add 32 police officers in Benton County? »Play Video
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. -- The August Primary Elections are Tuesday. And a lot of the focus has been on the race to replace Doc Hastings in Congress. But there are some initiatives you'll be voting on as well. KEPR broke down the Benton County Criminal Justice Sales Tax Proposition. We talked to those for and against it.

The job of law enforcement is to keep you safe. And our police officers and sheriff deputies feel they won't be able to do this to their full potential without some more money. So it's up to you to vote. Do you want a three-tenths of a percent tax hike for a proposition that would bring in over $9,000,000 a year to Benton County law enforcement, or not?

"I voted to approve that tax," said Ron Utter.

"I voted no," said Pati Way.

"A couple things that I don't mind paying taxes for - education and public safety. I think we've had an uptick in criminal activity around Kennewick and I don't have a problem with having more police officers on the street," said Utter.

"Constantly all we here is we need more money, we need more money. If you want us to do what you ask us to do, we need more money, but I don't often see the auditing and I don't often see the evidence that money is being put to good use. And until I see that, I will always vote no," said Way.

The Department of Revenue projects that it will cost a family, not a voter, but a family, about $87.00 a year if the proposition passes.

"For that $87.00 per family, you're gonna get an additional 32 police officers throughout Benton County, you're gonna get an additional Superior Court judge position, you're gonna get two additional deputy prosecutors," said the Campaign Manager, Al Wehner.

But that's not all. They are hoping to bring in a mental health court. And a gang prevention program.

"From my perspective, there is no better return on your investment then this measure," said Wehner.

But the concern to critics, why $0.03 on every $10.00 instead of $0.01 like originally discussed? The campaign manager says after lots of outside studies, researchers said the smaller tax hike wouldn't be enough.

"I want to see evidence that people are staying within their budget. I want to see that there's efforts made to cut spending where it can be."

The fate of the Benton County Criminal Justice Sales Tax is in your hands.

Sales exempt from the sales tax if it were approved are car sales.

Ballots are due Turesday. You can take them to any post office or any drop box in Benton and Franklin counties.