Thursday, January 08, 2004
“F” is for Cash Grab

The American Lung Association recently gave Team Reform an “F” for failing to fund tobacco prevention and control programs, or doing enough to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors; over 24 percent of the state’s high school students smoke. (source: Associated Press, 1/6/2004)

The Association “lauded” a smoke-free workplace law that the Legislature recently enacted, but panned Willard Mitt’s overall stewardship, noting that Massachusetts spent less than 59 percent of its settlement monies on prevention programs, unlike other states which spent upwards of 90 percent.

So why do we care about this? After all, tobacco settlement monies appear to be a natural non-tax-revenue grab for Team Reform.

Or do they?

Back in October 2002, when former Gov. Jane Swift (R-Flagbearer) cut tobacco control programs, Willard Mitt said, if elected, he would restore program funding. At least one Boston newspaper wrote that Romney’s (now) loathsome $150,000-a-year spokesman said the Fraud Candidate ‘wants to fully fund the program and believes he will be able to do so by restructuring the state's finances.’ (source: Boston Herald, 10/12/2002)

Swift cut program funding to $4.8 million. Romney proposed funding the program at $1.7 million. (source: tobaccofreekids.org)

Now THAT’S what we call restructuring.

For the record, not every Romney-phile believed Team Reform’s spoken position on tobacco settlement monies. Boston Globe neo-con Scot Lehigh wrote:

“Meanwhile, budgeteers have insisted on socking away for the future between 20 percent (the Senate) and 50 percent (the House) of the state's annual tobacco-settlement money - even though each such dollar held in reserve effectively means a dollar that must be raised in taxes. . . . And that's why it's vitally important that Mitt Romney remain on the ballot.” (source: Boston Globe, 6/12/2002)

Thanks for the warning.


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