Though their intentions are generally sincere, politicians in Washington, D.C., often advance policy initiatives without fully thinking through how they will be funded. A good example emerging now is the president's initiative for early childhood education. Such programs are designed to reach a worthy goal many of us could support, but in this case the administration plans to rely upon increased cigarette taxes which are volatile and unreliable.
Reports indicate that the program will be paid for by $75 billion in federal funding over the first 10 years, along with state matching dollars that increase year over year. Federal officials expect to raise the requisite $75 billion to fund their portion of the program by imposing a 93 percent increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes. In addition, federal officials have only outlined the cost of the program for the first 10 years with no solid indication of costs to state governments for those first 10 years, much less in the long run.
According to the Department of Education, responsibility for paying for the program will shift steadily onto Utah and other the states over that initial period. The first year the feds pay 90 percent of the cost, while the state pays 10 percent.