Governor Pushes Schools Program in Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge, Anderson County (WVLT) - Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says he's rolled his sleeves up, and he's ready to work to get his Schools First initiative passed.

The governor promoted his school funding plan to a standing-room only crowd at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge Monday.

The proposal would tack-on 40 cents more to the state cigarette tax.

In return, Bredesen says that would create more than $200 million for education.

"I think what's going to happen when we break the dam, and part of the reason for the interest of the cigarette companies is the surrounding states are going to raise their taxes as well. The Governor of Kentucky has called me every year, Ernie Fletcher since he's been governor, to say won't you please raise the cigarette tax? We need to raise ours up here," Governor Bredesen says.

Bredesen also says the higher gas prices and state lottery will keep tobacco users here in Tennessee.

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