Voters reject measure to end childhood programs

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to terminate the state's early childhood development and health programs that are funded by tobacco tax revenue.

Proposition 302 would have shifted the money to the state general fund for the Legislature to use in dealing with its severe budget crunch.

Voters approved an initiative in 2006 that directed the tobacco tax revenue to go to the First Things First program for a variety of childhood services including vision and hearing screenings, coaching for parents, obesity counseling and help for child care providers.

A similar measure, Proposition 301, also was defeated Tuesday. It would have shifted money from a voter-protected conservation fund to the general fund.

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