Don Smith Editorial

Posted: Monday, October 06, 2003

Tobacco tax needed to fund prevention programs:

Tuesday's election ballot will include a city ordinance that will increase the excise tax on tobacco products from six percent to 30 cents per pack of cigarettes and to 12 percent on all other tobacco products. The tobacco tax would generate about $300,000.

Social service groups hope to use the tax to fund programs to reduce smoking among teenagers and spread the message on the health risks of smoking.

An Alaska Department of Health & Social Services study determined that 39 percent of high school students surveyed in grades 9 through 12 reported they had experimented with tobacco. For Native high school students the rate is much higher. Funding cuts have placed school smoking prevention programs in jeopardy.

In some measure, everyone pays for the social costs of smoking, as manifested through higher insurance rates and healthcare costs, and through loss productivity.

If the measure passes, the fairest and best use of the additional tobacco tax revenues is to dedicate it to prevention.

Vote yes on Proposition 1

P roposition 1 Tobacco tax needed to fund prevention programson Tuesday's ballot will authorize $6,945 in funding for repairs at Floyd Dryden and Harborview schools. The city and Juneau School District anticipate that 70 percent of the total amount sought - the principal and interest - will be reimbursed by the state.

Property-tax payers would pay about $10 per $100,000 of assessed value for 10 years if the proposition passes.

Floyd Dryden school has endured 31 years of hard use and is long overdue for an upgrade. The funds would complete the second and final phase of a renovation at the school that includes recarpeting, doors, flooring, ceilings, lockers, casing work and plumbing fixtures in the eighth-grade wing.

The budget also includes $464,000 for furnishings such as desks and chairs for the entire school, exterior recoat, work on sidewalks, an outdoor canopy, exterior lights, gym bleacher replacement, and some mechanical upgrades.

Harborview Elementary School would receive $422,000 from the fund to replace rusting, clogged, galvanized steel water pipes.

A yes vote for Proposition 1 will enable completion of long-overdue repairs and upgrades to two aging elementary schools

David Stone will serve Juneau well

Tuesday's ballot will list David Stone as the lone choice for the District 1 Assembly seat. Even though Stone was unopposed, he ran his campaign as if he faced oppostion. He worked on getting his message out, attended meetings and candidate forums and devoted a lot of time to listening to people.

Undoubtedly the reason he was uncontested was due to his public image and wide appeal as a candidate. Stone is an honest, independent thinker who cares deeply about his community. He sits on a number of boards and has been deeply involved in community service throughout his life.

He is also regarded as one Juneau's leading historical experts and is a published author of historical works.

David Stone will present a fair and independent voice on the Assembly.

Don Smith

dssmith@juneauempire.com

586-1428



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