Letter to the Editor

Plan isn't good for children

Saturday, October 23, 2004

To the editor:

I have noticed new billboards in the area supporting Amendment 3 promising to "Repair the roads. No new taxes." It sounds too good to be true: better roads at no cost to the taxpayers. The problem is that it is too good to be true. Nothing comes without a cost, and the cost to Missouri's children is going to be high if Amendment 3 passes.

The Missouri Budget Project estimates that the general-revenue fund, which funds education; health care for seniors, children and working poor families; local health departments; foster care; and other services for abused and neglected children would lose $73.2 million in 2006, with losses increasing to $187 million by 2009, if Amendment 3 passes.

Missouri has seen a budget crisis in the last two years with significant cuts to vital programs and is entering 2005 with many areas of the budget underfunded. Now is not the time to lessen the state's funds for basic services that Missouri's children need. No one would disagree with the need for good roads, but not at the expense of our children.

The rhetoric about Amendment 3 will be increasing, with contributions from construction companies and unions funding the campaign. Children can't speak up, so it is vital that adults who care about them do so. The Citizens for Missouri's Children No. 1 Question campaign asks, "Is it good for the children?" When that question is asked about Amendment 3, the answer is a resounding no.

JULIE RAY, Jackson