Letters to the editor for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 | NevadaAppeal.com

Letters to the editor for Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014

Tobacco tax column wasn’t based on facts

Chuck Muth’s Jan. 2 op-ed “Tobacco Tax Isn’t the Right Way to Pay for Pre-K” was based on incorrect assumptions about new bipartisan legislation that would be tremendously beneficial for Nevada families.

First, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act does not use tobacco sales to fund a new state-federal preschool partnership. It is up to Congress to determine how to pay for the partnership, which will enable states to create and strengthen participation in quality preschools.

Second, the federal government will pay 90 percent of the cost the first year, and split the cost 50-50 with state governments after the eighth year. That is a net benefit to Nevada and other states, which currently foot most of the preschool tab on their own while serving just a fraction of children who need it.

Third, quality preschool makes a big difference in children’s lives. It has been shown to improve graduation rates by 35 percent, cut violent arrest rates by 70 percent, and even impact childhood obesity. Hundreds of retired admirals and generals nationwide strongly support early learning because 75 percent of young adults aged 17 to 24 cannot qualify for military service, primarily because they are too poorly educated, have a criminal record, or are too overweight.

Military leaders are not alone. In 2013 Republican and Democratic governors of 25 states proposed or enacted major expansions of state preschool programs. This partnership will put thousands of Nevada children on track for high school graduation, higher education and careers, including the military for those who choose to serve.

Richard V. Geraci

Brigadier general, U.S. Army (retired), Mission: Readiness member

Newspapers’ role is vital in a free nation

Hometown newspaper reporters are messengers who gather the news, local and national, bring it back for publication to keep the people informed through the local press. Their concern, what they bring back, is what the people want and need to know. They are truth seekers, finders and analysts, making sure it is the truth before it goes for publication.

They are always looking out from the windows of life to gather new events and happenings to keep the people informed. They try to cover everything. Sounds impossible, but they try. They help the police by exposing crimes, criminals, and illegal acts. The reporters work under freedom of the press.

Hometown reporters work independently, free from outside pressure, unlike the media and major newspapers who owe their allegiance to the owner or owners who put forward their views and political leanings.

Thank God for freedom of the press to operate and keep the people informed. If the newspapers were ever silenced, then the heart of freedom would disappear, followed by all freedoms. America would no longer operate within the Constitution and democracy and all that it stands for would disappear. The Nevada Appeal has all the qualities that make it outstanding. Their reporting is factual in keeping the people informed.

James McMullen

Carson City