To the editor:
I have been reading with great interest the news coverage of Proposition A, the tobacco excise-tax proposal. This initiative on the November ballot is critical. This proposal will address many of Missouri's most pressing health-care needs.
I am struck by the negative comments about this proposal from Ron Leone of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. Incredibly, this organization, according to its own Web site, is financially supported by Big Tobacco. They oppose Proposition A for one reason: They want to sell more cigarettes in Missouri. Shame on them for putting their collective greed ahead of the health of our children and senior citizens.
Through a 55-cent increase in the excise tax on cigarettes and a 20 percent increase in the tax on other tobacco products, this initiative will generate critically needed funding for five health-related efforts: helping people kick the deadly smoking habit and keeping our kids from taking it up in the first place, making prescription drugs more affordable for our seniors, providing quality health care for Missourians who need it most, supporting health-related research efforts and improving early-childhood care and education. All of the proceeds will be invested in the Healthy Missouri Trust Fund, separate from the rest of the state budget.
Without question, this initiative will make Missouri a healthier place for our children, our seniors and our families.
DR. CARL R. KRUSE
Missouri State Medical
Jefferson City, Mo.