Bullock: $35.2M Tobacco Check a Boon for Montana
HELENA – Attorney General Steve Bullock said Tuesday that the efforts of Department of Justice attorneys who helped negotiate the tobacco settlement a decade ago are still paying substantial dividends to Montana.
Last week, Montana received over $35 million in tobacco payments under an agreement reached in the historic 1998 tobacco settlement. Those payments included Montana’s regular annual payment plus an additional $8.5 million in “strategic contribution” payments – additional money that Montana received for the State’s attorneys playing a substantial role in the litigation efforts.
“In these uncertain economic times, the money Montana’s tobacco settlement continues to bring in is even more important,” Bullock said. “Whether it’s funding the CHIP program, keeping tobacco products away from our kids, helping folks quit smoking or paying for other governmental services, this latest check will do a tremendous amount of good.”
Forty percent of the $35.2 million payment, or approximately $14 million, will be deposited in the tobacco trust fund approved by Montana voters in November 2000. The remainder will be distributed as follows:
- 32 percent – Tobacco prevention/cessation and human service programs
- 17 percent – Children’s Health Insurance Program, Comprehensive Health Association programs and Medicaid matching funds
- 11 percent – General fund
The payment brings the total compensation to the state from the settlement to over $300 million.
Under the negotiated settlement, the major tobacco companies agreed to stop marketing cigarettes to kids and to pay up to $206 billion to the states. Montana could receive up to $920 million through the year 2025. However, the settlement contains a clause allowing tobacco industry payments to decrease for certain specified adjustments including, for example, a decrease in payment if the number of cigarettes sold decreases. Since the settlement, cigarette use in America has declined by over 28 percent.