Obama’s Tobacco Tax Plan Expected To Follow California’s Example
President Obama is expected to include in his budget proposal a plan to fund a universal preschool program using tobacco taxes, which is similar to a California initiative, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
Obama is expected to unveil his budget plan on Wednesday (Fernandes, "KPCC News," KPCC, 4/8).
Details of Proposition 10
In 1998, California voters approved Proposition 10, which imposed a tax on cigarettes to raise funds for First 5 California, an agency that allocates money for schools and not-for-profits that offer education and health programs for children under five years of age (California Healthline, 3/21/12).
Scott Moore -- a political analyst with Early Edge California, a not-for-profit group that advocates for increased early education -- said that California's use of tobacco taxes to fund education and health programs provides two returns on the investment.
According to Moore, "You get the return from investing in young kids, and you get the return in reduced health care costs from reduction in smoking."
Concerns About Approach
However, the tobacco lobby has objected to the approach, while early education advocates have questioned it as a long-term strategy.Lisa Guernsey -- director of the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation -- said that using tobacco tax funds to finance early education programs is "risky" because it might "create situations in which all education for four-year-olds is completely paid for with tobacco taxes," which could be problematic if tobacco tax funding is diverted elsewhere during times of economic stress ("KPCC News," KPCC, 4/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.