Early-childhood-education advocates in Arizona hope to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would raise tobacco taxes to pay for a variety of preschool services.
Backed by the owners of the Bashas’ grocery-store chain, Eddie and Nadine Basha, the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative would increase tobacco taxes by 80 cents, raising the total tax on cigarettes to $1.98 per pack.
The proceeds, expected to be roughly $150 million a year, would be spent on local and regional services for young children, including health screenings, early development, and preschool. Information and training would be made available to Arizona parents, and grants would be distributed to existing private and faith-based providers to improve programs.
State election officials last week were still counting signatures from the petitions turned in by the proposal’s sponsors.
A version of this article appeared in the August 09, 2006 edition of Education Week