Kentucky will receive about $110 million from an agreement between the state and tobacco companies over the state’s mishandling of tobacco funds dating back to 2003.
Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway negotiated a deal between the state and tobacco companies to recoup lost tobacco settlement money after an arbitration court found that Kentucky and five other states hadn’t properly managed the funds. The money comes from a 1998 landmark ruling that tobacco companies must pay states to offset health costs associated with their products.
Conway says the deal only nets the state about 45 percent of nearly a decade’s’ worth of disputed funds.
“I signed the papers yesterday. So we were... you know, when you’re going back and forth with companies like RJR and Philip Morris, it gets pretty complicated,” he said. “So there are many versions. I signed the terms sheets yesterday, we began briefing people, members of the legislature and stakeholders this morning, and we expect the money to be released in a couple weeks.”
Conway said the money is going to fund healthcare, education and agricultural programs, prompting the crowd to applaud.
“I want the folks in the agriculture community to hear me loud and clear. I want the folks in the public health community to hear me loud and clear. I want those in early childhood education to hear me loud and clear. We’re getting our full payment in 2014. We’re getting our full payment in 2014.”
Conway adds that the terms of the agreement ensure Kentucky will continue to receive tobacco settlement payments in the future.