Jay Taylor letter: No need for rich N.D. to tap tobacco dollarsPlease, do not offer support for this bill (HB 1353) or any other bill dreamed up by the legislators to kill Measure 3, which 54 percent the voters wanted.
By: Jay Taylor,
DURBIN, N.D. — I read with some disdain the Herald’s editorial supporting the addition of a medical school building as opposed to helping relieve the need for said building by preventing the No. 1 cause of premature death in our country, tobacco products (“Grow medical school or discourage tobacco use?”, Page D1, Jan. 23).
Don’t get me wrong; I completely support the need for new buildings and new doctors, even though we have no guarantee that by building said building, the new doctors would stay in North Dakota.
What will stay in North Dakota is the continuing toll of tobacco deaths — more than 900 per year, I believe — and an expense to the taxpayers while we support tobacco users as they eat up health care expenditures to the tune of some $247 million per year. This, by the way, creates a tax burden of $564 per household, per year.
For the record, HB 1353 will close down the programs that Measure 3 has started, and we will be back to having the state Health Department use the monies that were left over the last time the Legislature got hold of them.
Herald readers will recall that from the original settlement, 45 percent of the money went to some education programs, 45 percent went to water projects and 80 percent of the remaining 10 percent went to pay for tobacco programs.
This is money won by our state in the tobacco company trials. We (and other states) won the money because the tobacco companies are responsible for 1/2 million premature deaths every year in our country.
Sorry, but with North Dakota being flush with cash (a point that is brought out politically when it seems to make the Legislature look good), there is no reason to take money that is saving lives and build a new building that offers no guarantees of success.
Please, do not offer support for this bill (HB 1353) or any other bill dreamed up by the legislators to kill Measure 3, which 54 percent the voters wanted.