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Archive for Friday, December 21, 2012

Brownback, Schmidt say Kansas will join other states in tobacco agreement

December 21, 2012

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Gov. Sam Brownback and Attorney General Derek Schmidt on Friday said funding to children's programs will be protected under a multistate legal agreement to settle disputed payments from several major tobacco companies.

In a news release, Brownback and Schmidt said the agreement in principle will reduce the risk of losing tens of millions of dollars.

Payments to Kansas from the original 1998 Big Tobacco legal settlement have been approximately $55 million per year.

As part of that national agreement, Big Tobacco agreed to pay out billions of dollars to states to offset the health costs of smoking, but the cigarette companies disputed some payments to 17 states, including Kansas. The companies had accused the states of failing to enforce a requirement that other tobacco companies not part of the original settlement pay money into escrow when they make sales in the state.

"That dispute, if not resolved, could cost Kansas children's programs hundreds of millions of dollars. While the new settlement would not eliminate all risk of payment interruption, it would significantly reduce that risk and increase the likelihood that funding for critical children’s programs can continue as anticipated," said Brownback and Schmidt in the prepared statement.

Final details of the agreement must be reached before it can be fully enforced.

The agreement was reached earlier this week, and several states involved have announced how much they would get under the deal. For example, Nebraska said it would get $13 million next year, Georgia, $56 million and North Carolina, $108 million, among others.

But the statement from Brownback and Schmidt contained no dollar figure on how much Kansas will receive.

Brownback's office said the attorney general's office was handling the news release, and repeated phone messages left with the attorney general's office went unanswered.

How much Kansas receives next year is crucial to numerous programs funded with tobacco monies.

Comments

1 year, 8 months ago

How come the other states know their dollar figure but we don't? Is our case not settled yet? Or is Sam not telling?

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Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 8 months ago

Because Derek Schmidt is running the most secretive AG's office in Kansas history. 95% of stories about the AG involve some variation of the line "repeated calls were not returned".

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1 year, 8 months ago

I googled what you allege and you're right. Why would they want to keep this a secret when the other states are putting out press releases bragging about it? Are they up to no good or did we come out on the short end and they are trying to figure out how to spin it?

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smokefree 1 year, 8 months ago

Kansas is not the only state that is not divulging the amount of their settlement. Figures from Alabama were also not made public at this time.

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Glenn Reed 1 year, 8 months ago

I've always been a bit concerned about the idea of using money from the big tobacco settlements to fund any program. I mean, in a long-term sense.

With proper education, and decent access to information, very few people would decide to start smoking. Keep up such a trend, and eventually there wouldn't be big enough tobacco to provide the funding.

It WOULD be nice to know what the settlement numbers were, though.

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smokefree 1 year, 8 months ago

That should be the overall intent - to have these funds stop coming into the states. If that happens then it will signify a victory for public health because the tobacco pandemic will be over.

What is an absolute abomination is that very few states are using the appropriate amount of tobacco settlement monies toward tobacco control measures and education to prevent the addiction of the next replacement generation of smokers.

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KUinAussie 1 year, 8 months ago

heres a tidbit for ya:

if government forced the removal of chemicals from the tobacco, over HALF of us smokers would quit overnight.

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