Holden Unveils Tobacco Money Plan
After three years of negotiations and waiting, Gov. Bob Holden announced Wednesday Missouri's plan to spend money from a national tobacco settlement, KMBC 9 News' Donna Pitman reported.
Holden came to Kansas City to talk about his "Healthy Family Initiative." He said he wants to secure children's futures with education funds paid in part by the state's national tobacco settlement dollars.
Holden plans to spend $14.4 million on early childcare and education programs for children with special needs.
"Unfortunately at the present time, much of our early childhood efforts are not reaching those in need most: our at-risk children in low-income families," Holden said.
Holden visited Thomas Roque, a child and family development center in Kansas City.
"I want to see new programs like this one reaching at-risk children all across the state of Missouri," Holden said.
The money will go to expand Head Start programs.
"We are serving only 40 percent of the eligible Head Start children in Clay, Platte and Jackson counties," said Dwayne Crompton of Kansas City's Child Development Corporation.
That means that 46,000 local children are not getting early education, Pitman reported.
The state started spending settlement money July 1.
Holden's plan also gives money to prescription-drug tax help for seniors, smoking prevention programs, research for life sciences and medicine and improving access to health care in Missouri.