“The [Denver] City Council voted 10-1 to add the early-childhood-education plan to the November election. [Initiative 1A] would collect $12 million a year [in sales tax revenue].” The proposal would “give parents of 4-year-olds tuition for the preschool of their choice based on the parents’ income and the quality of the provider. Providers also would get funds.” What it wouldn’t do is restrict anyone, even millionaires, from getting some of that money. And that’s where the opponents object.
Proponents point to studies showing that young students who attended pre-school perform better than other students. They continue that this isn’t a social program, but rather an investment in better education and increased graduation levels. If the state is going to fund education at all (and that’s a question many libertarians pose), then it certainly makes sense to get the most for our education dollars.
Oponents don’t address success in school at all. They tell us that constituents are complaining about roads, not schools. And detractors tell us about millionaires getting money. On local public radio this morning, one even claimed that millionairs would be able to send their children to school with tax dollars collected from poor people.
I fail to see the problem with that. After all, the poor folks will also be able to send their children to school with money collected from millionaires. More importantly, the plan is to fund this expansion the government with sales tax; the most regressive tax there is. Rich people have more money to spend and they spend, and get taxed more in equal amounts. Food and other necessities are excluded from sales tax, leaving poor people with the majority of their incomes in tact.
I am not sure I agree with expanding government’s role in education or not. That will have to wait for a different blog entry. What’s clear, however, is that it makes sense to invest in the success of young students and that sales tax is a very fair way to do this, particularly, and perhaps only, when millionairs may also take part in the program they help, disproportionately, to fund.