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I was an Associated Press reporter, covering the Missouri Legislature for many years. Then I served as Director of Communications for the University of Missouri, working to build support for public education. When I was asked to serve as a spokesperson for the YES on A Coalition, I studied Proposition A carefully. I found it to be a common sense measure that benefits Missouri schools and our economy.
Prop A finally gets rid of Missouriís outdated $500 casino spending limit, which doesnít exist in any other state. This will finally let Missouri casinos compete equally for visitors with casinos in Illinois. Thatís why Missouri casinos support Prop A. And, itís why the negative campaign against Prop A is being paid for by Illinois casinos. They donít want Missouri casinos to be able to compete with them on a level playing field.
Prop A increases the tax Missouri casinos pay to help fund education. The Missouri State Auditor says Prop A will provide over $100 million in new money every year for schools statewide, without increasing any taxes on Missouri residents.
Under the Missouri Constitution, tax revenues from casinos are dedicated to education. The Legislature canít change that. Voting YES on A increases state school revenues - and provides new legal protections for the money that donít exist in current law.
Prop A specifically prohibits the legislature from using casino revenues to replace existing school funding. And, Prop A requires annual public audits, so politicians canít get away with shuffling school funds around.
Proposition A is endorsed by a statewide coalition of educators, business leaders, taxpayer advocates and community groups. I encourage you to read Prop A for yourself Ė at www.yesonpropa.com. And I urge you to join us in voting YES.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Scott Charton serves as spokesman for the YES on A Coalition. Mr. Charton was a long-time statehouse journalist and political writer in Missouri, including overseeing legislative coverage of 13 annual sessions of the Missouri General Assembly. He retired from The Associated Press after 23 years as a correspondent, and spent the last three years as Director of Communications for the University of Missouri System. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.