Missouri Sales Tax To Support Youth
- Mar 22, 2012 | Susan McLain
Funding for mental health services in Boone County, Missouri has declined, according to Christine Corcoran, director of regional operations for Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri. But “[u]nfortunately, the need hasn’t.”
So Boone County residents are circulating the Proposition 1 petition to gain support for a quarter-cent sales tax increase proposal to be on the November ballot. “The quarter-cent sales tax would generate around $5.4 million annually,” according to a report by the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Cuts in funding have affected a number of organizations. Georgalu Swoboda, executive direction of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Columbia agrees that “…cuts in grant funding have adversely affected her organization and the kids it serves.” They lost half of the $200,000 federal grant money aimed at helping their truancy and academic performance programs. However, prior to losing the grant money, they had shown an average 20-30 percent improvement in basic academic skills and a 35 percent reduction in truancy due to the program.
One of the programs the Lutheran Family and Children’s Services (LFCS) provides is support for teen parents. Corcoran comments that teen pregnancy and the challenges faced by teens are “…more complex than they have ever been.” Her program has been around “…in some form since the late 1960s, but they “…had to turn away 62 pregnant teens last year.”
Proposition 1 initiative needs 7,000 signatures in order to be placed on the ballot in November. If passed, it would create a Community Children’s Services Fund to manage funding to the various organizations.