Letters to the Editor

Tax e-cigarettes to
protect Montana’s kids

Dear Editor,
Whether or not you use tobacco, you are paying for it. Every year, each household in Montana spends $791 in taxes due to smoking. What’s more, Montanans spend a total of $440 million annually in health care costs directly caused by smoking.
Did you know that raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective ways to reduce use and improve the health of Montana residents? The last time Montana raised the tax on tobacco was in 2005.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, increasing the price on cigarettes results in fewer kids starting to smoke and more adults quitting. Low-income adults, youth and pregnant women are especially likely to quit or reduce their smoking when the price increases.
What about e-cigarettes? Over half of Montana’s high school students have tried e-cigarettes and 30 percent are using them regularly. A 2017 study published in Tobacco Control found that teens using e-cigarettes in 12th grade are four times more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes in the next year.
E-cigarettes are not taxed in Montana and are not safe for youth. To address the rapid rise in youth e-cigarette use, the U.S. Surgeon General recommends applying significant increases in price and tax on these products.
When there is an opportunity to protect Montana kids, improve health and save money, why not take it?
Kimberly Haynes
Lewistown

Gianforte is writer’s
choice for congressional seat

Dear Editor,
I can’t believe we are living in the United States of America, what with all the carrying on, protesting, setting cars on fire, breaking windows, parading down the street chanting anti-police slogans and all the rest of the garbage. Having served my country for nine years, two months and 13 days, I object to all this nonsense.
In the old days, we always showed respect to the president of the United States. Now ‘days, these idiotic yahoos are being absolutely belligerent to the president and thereby the people of America. They don’t deserve to live in this wonderful country. You can bet your bottom dollar most of them never served as military personnel, police officers, firemen and women or even dogcatchers. They need to go to these Muslim extremist countries and find out how those people live. After they see a few hundred innocent people bombed and heads chopped off, they wouldn’t want to be inviting them here.
I read where illegal aliens cost us $390 billion a year in the U.S. In Montana, what I read said we have an estimated five thousand illegal aliens. They cost us $32 million in education, healthcare, law enforcement, public assistance and government services. They contribute an estimated $1 million in taxes. That leaves us with $31 million a year to pay and growing quickly. This must stop.
We need good representatives in government, like President Trump (boy, I like saying that), who are willing to start cleaning up this mess. We have a good businessman, family man, Montana job creator and all-around conservative Greg Gianforte running for Ryan Zinke’s representative position. He will be a lot like Trump in his approach to making Montana great again.
The other guy, Democrat Rob Quist, is best known for making bluegrass-type music. He must have been smoking some of that blue grass – or some other type – with the stuff he is standing for. I have heard he is for sanctuary cities, gun registration, and that he is OK with bringing in alien refugees, and all kinds of non-discriminatory marriage.
It seems like a clear-cut choice to me: Trump for America, Gianforte for Montana Congress.
Norm Coleman
Lewistown

Montana’s public schools offer a wide range of choices to students

Dear Editor,
I am the assistant principal at Bozeman High School, a National Board Certified social studies teacher, and an advanced placement government teacher with the Montana Digital Academy. I’m also a product of K-12 education in Bozeman’s public schools and the Montana University System.
I’m proud of the innovation in Montana’s public schools. For example, our biomedical sciences program at Bozeman High allows students to tackle real-world issues with the same tools used by hospitals and labs across the Montana and the country. Students collaborate to solve problems while expanding their medical knowledge in preparation for a career in the medical field. This program offers students the opportunity to explore potential careers while providing them real-world skills that are applicable for any career. The biomedical sciences program helps students learn how to solve complex problems under authentic circumstances.
This is the kind of exciting innovation taking place in public schools all across Montana. Our public schools offer a tremendous amount of choice.
Private and charter schools don’t offer the wide range of choices available to students in Montana’s public schools.
And unlike private schools that can pick and choose which children to accept, our public school programs are open to all children.
It’s another good reason to keep public funds in our public schools.
Erica Schnee
Bozeman

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