An organized effort is underway to repeal the Graham Hospital District tax.

A group of local citizens has scheduled a meeting for next Thursday, January 30th, to form an exploratory committee to initiate the repeal of the recently passed Graham Hospital District Tax.

One of the organizers, Carl Buschman, says he and a group of like-minded citizens invite anyone interested to come hear the plans for an upcoming petition drive. Buschman says there are a little over 8,000 voters in the district and a petition must have at least 1,220 qualified signatures to force a recall election on the dissolution of the hospital district.

He says their goal is to gather 2,000 signatures.

Buschman says in his opinion, "the hospital tax is already causing a negative economic downturn, and is not good for the city."

According to a letter released by the exploratory committee, the group is not advocating the closure of the hospital. Neal Blanton, head of the GRMC hospital board, had one comment regarding the meeting.

"I just hope that with this committee, that he (Buschman) corrects some of the inaccuracies that were in his letter to the editor," Blanton said.

The letter Blanton referred to was submitted in the Jan. 12 edition of The Graham Leader, and was entitled "Repeal by petition." In the letter, Buschman questioned why the tax was forced upon Graham's citizens when the hospital could have been sold, why the public wasn't informed that the hospital would become a taxing body and why Graham citizens didn't question the tax after it passed "by 130 write in votes (there were over 200 write-in votes as I recall)."

"Number one, there was no write-in vote in this election," Blanton said. "And number two, there was never an opportunity to sell the hospital because there was never an offer by anybody to buy it. And three, in all of our communications with the public, either in public, or in writing, we always addressed the fact that this was about a tax collection to support the hospital."

Read the entire story in Wednesday's Graham Leader.