Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, released the following statement on the president’s plan to use a tobacco tax to fund his early childhood education proposal. As always, Kris is available for comment if you have questions.

The New York Times reported this morning that President Obama’s early childhood education proposal will be funded by raising federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. This is a smart, no nonsense revenue source that will help grow our economy in the short and long-term, while also highlighting an important public health issue. This kind of plan can save taxpayers money by reducing the costs of programs like Medicaid and Medicare while investing in programs like high-quality early childhood education, which pays dividends to children, families and taxpayers for the life of the child.

The First Five Years Fund applauds President Obama’s bold move to put our nation’s youngest children first by making significant investments in early development through the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership and the expansion of evidence-based, voluntary home visiting.

These investments are an economic no-brainer. Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman’s research that shows the greatest return on investment comes from investing in high quality early childhood programs for disadvantage children from birth to five. The president and political leaders from both parties recognize these benefits.

For too long, our nation’s youngest learners have been subjected to its worst education opportunities. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to working with the president and members of both parties of Congress to see this plan through to fruition.

For interviews with Kris Perry, please contact Andrew Brenner at or 202-884-7337.