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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the disbursement of the first $2.4 billion payment by the tobacco industry to settling states under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). The monies are deposited in escrow and will be made available for states' use no later than June 30, 2000. Oregon's share of the first payment is approximately $28 million. Annual payments to Oregon of $70 million (subject to adjustments as required by the MSA) will be made in perpetuity.
"I am happy to see the first fruits of this important settlement arrive in escrow as required," Myers said. "In these tights fiscal times, with so many demands on the state's General Fund, it is gratifying to have these additional resources well on their way."
"I still hope the Legislature will recognize the connection between this settlement's revenue and the need for enhanced resources for public health and prevention programs," Myers said. "The fact remains that, in Oregon, one in four teenagers is a regular smoker, and one in three of them will die prematurely from illnesses caused by smoking."
Myers files suit against the tobacco industry in June 1997, and joined 41 other states and territories in signing the Master Settlement Agreement in November 1998. While the MSA attaches no restrictions on Oregon's use of the monies, Myers has advocated for use of at least part of the settlement proceeds to expand public health programs, including education, prevention and cessation of smoking, and augment resources for the Department of Justice's consumer protection activities.
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