10 Principles for Texas
in the 21st Century
- Develop a better-educated workforce
- Direct more of every education dollar into the classroom
- Raise the bar on student performance
- Cut taxes in Texas
- Introduce competition into Texas government
- Improve government performance and accountability
- Reduce the size of government
- Bring common sense to regulations
- Use technology to cut costs and increase quality
- Return control to communities and individuals
My office recently launched a new education campaign called “Under18—No Tobacco! I Can’t Sell, You Can’t Buy!” I believe this effort will help stop 57,000 young Texans who start smoking each and every year.
Teenage smoking is a real problem that ultimately can and does destroy lives, and I am committed to doing everything possible as Comptroller to discourage the illegal sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18.
Since April, posters and stickers that can be displayed in store windows, pamphlets to educate retailers about tobacco laws and guideline sheets called “How to Check Identification” have been mailed to more than 29,000 stores.
During the last regular legislative session, I advocated increasing the cigarette tax by $1 a pack. Discounting for those who would never start smoking and those who would smoke less—the mama and the grandmamma in me believes we might just save lives—this would have brought in $1.5 billion for the 2004-05 biennium.
Rather than implementing this new economic engine to fund much needed programs, devastating decisions were made that left Texas dead last in the number of children with health insurance in these United States. Where the state is abdicating its responsibilities and ignoring state challenges we are creating local crises.
We continue to say no to children without health insurance. Just since last September 149,000 Texas children have been dropped from the Children’s Health Insurance Program—that’s unconscionable. And right now, the state has nearly $1.2 billion that could be used by budget execution to restore the program.
I care passionately about our children. And it is our obligation to make sure they have the health care they deserve, are immunized against deadly diseases and that those under 18 cannot buy cigarettes. Together we can save the lives of our most precious resource, our children.
Carole Keeton Strayhorn