by David Safier
I'm going to miss Billie Stanton when the Citizen folds next month, a lot. She combines passion with research. Good combination.
Stanton's latest column is about the Republicans stealing money from a fund, First Things First, designed to pay for early childhood education and health issues with a tobacco tax. Voters approved it in 2006.
The Rs took the $7 million interest the $300 million fund has accrued. And they're talking about dipping into the rest of the fund.
Why is $300 million sitting around? Because the Board overseeing the funds doesn't want to just "throw money at education." It set up a bunch of regional councils to figure out how best to spend the funds, and how to assure the money will be around long enough to assess the educational benefits, if there are any. To do a reasonable assessment, that's 8 to 10 years.
So the fund has grown since 2006, and it's earned interest, making the Council's careful decision making even more valuable.
And the Rs took away the interest. And they're thinking of taking the rest.
I'm keeping a list and checking it twice. When these folks go beyond supposed thrift and into something bordering on theft from little children, that goes on the unbelievably naughty side. Let us not forget this come election time.