"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Just Some Silly Questions to the Missouri State Board of Education...or are they?

But does the State Board of Education REALLY want you to keep smoking to fund education?  Which is it?

Here is a post from KC Education Enterprise on the latest and greatest idea from the Missouri State Board of Education to drum up additional funding. The current $.17 tax on cigarettes will be increased to $.90 if this State Board Initiative is placed on the November ballot and approved by taxpayers:

The State Board of Education voiced its approval Tuesday for the Healthy Missouri Initiative Petition measure aimed at raising new funds for education in Missouri. The measure, also known as the Missouri Tobacco Tax Initiative, may appear on the November ballot and calls for an additional 73 cent tax on each package of cigarettes and an increase in tax for other tobacco products.

“These funds would help avoid school district staff reductions due to state budget cuts and would support the growing needs of increasing classroom sizes,” said Board President Peter Herschend.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education strives to ensure that all children have access to high-quality public education. Through the State Board’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, the Board and Department aim for student achievement in Missouri to rank among the top 10 states by the year 2020.

“In addition to the positive impact these dollars would have on public education, the tax would also make tobacco less affordable and less accessible for young people, and hopefully decrease the likelihood of them starting to use tobacco products,” added Herschend.

Missouri has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation at 17 cents a pack. The increase would raise the tobacco tax to 90 cents a pack and would generate an additional $283 million annually. Half of the funds would be used for public K-12 education, 30 percent would go toward higher education and the remaining 20 percent would support smoking cessation education programs.

The Healthy Missouri Initiative Petition was organized by Show-Me A Brighter Future, a coalition of Missouri organizations and individuals, led by the American Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society Action Network and other educational and health organizations.

Missouri will fund its education programs through higher taxes on cigarettes (maybe).  If this tax initiative doesn't pass, will the next tax increase be on baked goods because eating cookies and candy increases obesity?  How about a 73 cent tax increase on soft drinks?  How about a 73 cent tax increase on Starbuck foo foo drinks because they have too much sugar?  Or a 73 cent increase per pound on red meat because it causes heart disease?  The cessation of tobacco use will further the "healthy initiative".  Certainly the cessation of or higher taxes on desserts and red meat would help also further this initiative.  What's sacred to the State Board of Education that it won't want to tax to raise funds for unvoted mandates?

Check out that Top 10 by 20 initiative the State Board has decided Missouri students need.  Do Missouri taxpayers ever remember being contacted about a program that will put taxpayers into even more debt?  Did these appointed State Board of Education members ever have town hall meetings to determine from the taxpayers if they thought their students needed or even wanted these programs?

Of course not.  But really, I guess these are silly questions, right?




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