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503-378-6002 or Michael.C.Kron@doj.state.or.us
About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced receipt of the first payment of $28,336,027.18 as required by the Master Settlement Agreement between Oregon and the tobacco industry. The funds are deposited in an account at the Oregon Treasury for transfer to the state's General Fund. Use of the funds is indeterminate pending the passage or defeat of Ballot Measure 89, referred to the voters by the 1999 Legislative Assembly.
"I urge voters to reject Ballot Measure 89, the so-called Health Security Fund, because it impounds the funds and spends only the interest on a variety of purposes, some not directly related to health care," Myers said. "I hope Oregonians will choose to invest this money in health-related programs, including cessation, prevention and enforcement of law restricting youth access to tobacco products."
"I cannot support any measure that fails to recognize the link between the purpose of Oregon's lawsuit against the tobacco industry and the use of the proceeds for immediate needs," Myers said. "We live in a state where 1 in 4 teenagers smokes and the average age regular smokers started smoking is 14. These statistics send a clear message about the scope of the problem - a problem that we cannot afford to ignore or provide an inadequate response."
This initial payment will be followed by annual payments of approximately $68 to $100 million, subject to various adjustments as required by the MSA. Payments are made in perpetuity.
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