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Burning Money
NY Times ^ | August 22, 2005 | HOWARD MARKEL

Posted on 08/21/2005 10:56:31 PM PDT by neverdem

IN the late 1990's, the tobacco companies made a historic legal settlement with every state and the District of Columbia, agreeing to pay $246 billion over 25 years for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. In the last five years, the states have received $40.7 billion in tobacco settlement revenue but have devoted only 5 percent of this money to fighting the tobacco epidemic.

Alabama has spent more than $1 million of this money on boot camps for juvenile delinquents, alternative schools and metal detectors and surveillance cameras for public schools.

Illinois has used $315 million for property tax relief and an earned-income tax rebate.

Michigan, which spends no money on tobacco prevention or cessation, has used 75 percent of its tobacco revenue to provide $2,500 college scholarships to high school students.

New York has used $700,000 to buy golf carts and an irrigation and sprinkler system for a public golf course in Niagara County.

In North Carolina, 75 percent of the tobacco settlement money went to provide assistance to the tobacco-producing community.

North Dakota spent about 45 percent of its settlement on water resources and flood control projects.

Virginia has spent $12 million to lay fiber-optic lines for broadband cable in southern sections of the state.

This lawsuit was never intended to balance ailing state budgets, let alone buy golf carts, cable lines and security cameras.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Alabama; US: District of Columbia; US: Illinois; US: Michigan; US: New York; US: North Carolina; US: North Dakota; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: smoking; tobacco
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1 posted on 08/21/2005 10:56:33 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
"Trusting the government with money is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." --- PJ O'Rourke

Good post Doctor, keep them coming.

2 posted on 08/21/2005 10:57:40 PM PDT by Clemenza (Proud "Free Traitor" & Capitalist Pig)
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To: neverdem

BTTT


3 posted on 08/21/2005 11:01:02 PM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: neverdem

and that's just from the lawsuit. just think of where all that money goes from the outrageous taxes on cigarettes.


4 posted on 08/21/2005 11:01:21 PM PDT by Nipplemancer (Abolish the DEA !)
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To: neverdem
In the last five years, the states have received $40.7 billion in tobacco settlement revenue but have devoted only 5 percent of this money to fighting the tobacco epidemic.

WTF? I thought all this money was supposed to pay for smoker's health care costs.

Even that spent to fight the "tobacco epidemic" (stupid wording) only buys dumb commercials, "tobacco free zone signs" (enough to make you check to see if the green leaf is on your lapel), and dorky billboards.

Giving money to a politician is like giving crack to a crackhead...

5 posted on 08/21/2005 11:02:34 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (God save us from the fury of the do-gooders!)
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To: neverdem
"This lawsuit was never intended to balance ailing state budgets, let alone buy golf carts, cable lines and security cameras."

Oh yes it was. It certainly was.

6 posted on 08/21/2005 11:03:31 PM PDT by SteveMcKing ("I was born a Democrat. I expect I'll be a Democrat the day I leave this earth." -Zell Miller '04)
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To: neverdem

I remember threads here detailing the largess that Hugh Rodham collecting his part as an attorney of record

It was a wealth transfer plain and simple


7 posted on 08/21/2005 11:05:30 PM PDT by IncPen (There's nothing that a liberal can't improve using your money...)
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To: neverdem
Illinois has used $315 million for property tax relief and an earned-income tax rebate.

Yet my real estate taxes go up and up and I am not eligible for an "earned income tax gimme".

This is like all the lottery money that's supposed to go to education. What a joke.

8 posted on 08/21/2005 11:05:42 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: neverdem
Wisconsin used the tobacco money to try and balance the state budget.

The AG who "negotiated" the settlement? Jim Doyle.

9 posted on 08/21/2005 11:09:06 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist
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To: neverdem

Some of the $ WA state has collected in gas tax revenue (which was earmarked for transportation) is going to smoking cessation programs.


10 posted on 08/21/2005 11:10:29 PM PDT by Just Lori (Ok, tag! Now you're it!)
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To: neverdem

"This lawsuit was never intended to balance ailing state budgets.."

Let's be honest here. This lawsuit was intended to line the pockets of lawyers and the pockets of the elected elite.

Now they're after Merck for murdering innocent people with Vioxx. I say shut down industry until we can get these lawyers under control!


11 posted on 08/21/2005 11:11:15 PM PDT by Humidston (No Racial Profiles = Proof liberalism is a mental disorder)
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To: Smokin' Joe

WTF? I thought all this money was supposed to pay for smoker's health care costs.


No no no..... see...... smokers pay MORE for health insurance if they can even get it thru their employers, but since some employers won't hire smokers at all, smokers have to quit because they can't afford cigarettes, so no more tax revenue from cigarettes, and the government will have to start taxing french fries and ho ho's. Then see ..... if you die from choking on french fries, your family will sue McDonalds and get a zillion dollar settlement, and the government will get that money thru the death tax after they already taxed the french fries that killed you.


12 posted on 08/21/2005 11:19:00 PM PDT by Just Lori (Ok, tag! Now you're it!)
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To: Spanaway Lori

The scariest part is your post makes absolutely perfect sense!


13 posted on 08/21/2005 11:35:02 PM PDT by Humidston (YO CINDY - WE'RE COMING! CAN YOU HEAR THE ENGINES?)
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To: Spanaway Lori
Oh, I know about the insurance thingy, I pay extra for health, auto (no reportable accidents in over 10 yrs/100000 mi.), homeowner's, life insurance, and lose 5 minutes of every 10 minute bum's rush doctor visit to the 'Lecture' about the eeeevils of tobacco.

It is a good thing I can smoke a cigarette after all that BS, it keeps the homicidal urges at bay....(8^D)

14 posted on 08/21/2005 11:37:08 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (Tag Backs!)
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To: Smokin' Joe

Damn. I forgot about tag-backs.


15 posted on 08/21/2005 11:49:39 PM PDT by Just Lori (Ok, tag! Now you're it!)
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To: Spanaway Lori

LOL!


16 posted on 08/21/2005 11:50:11 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (God save us from the fury of the do-gooders!)
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To: SheLion

This might be a good time to post some of your state budget studies you did a couple of years ago.


17 posted on 08/22/2005 12:15:23 AM PDT by Lokibob (All typos and spelling errors are mine and copyrighted!!!!)
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To: neverdem
Just confirms what most conservatives knew from the beginning-the tobacco settlement was just a legalized extortionist money grab from the get-go.
18 posted on 08/22/2005 3:32:01 AM PDT by libertylover (Liberal: A blatant liar who likes to spend other people's money.)
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To: Nipplemancer
and that's just from the lawsuit. just think of where all that money goes from the outrageous taxes on cigarettes.

No joke. I read somewhere that the taxes generated by Phillip Morris' tobacco alone is more than $20 million per day.
19 posted on 08/22/2005 4:33:06 AM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats: We must become more effective at fooling people.)
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To: Humidston
I say shut down industry until we can get these lawyers under control!

Ah!!! Let's just lock everyone out of the courthouses until we straighted it out. We must have industry, the lawyers we could certainly live without.
20 posted on 08/22/2005 4:36:12 AM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats: We must become more effective at fooling people.)
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To: neverdem
The "tobacco settlement" was an "end run" tax increase on smokers...except it was put in place by the judiciary (unconstitutional) with trail lawyers taking up to 1/3 of the 400 billion dollars. The whole deal should be null and void. If a state wants to tax tobacco, they can do that through the legislative branch.
21 posted on 08/22/2005 5:01:45 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: All
Anyone know whether the tobacco companies can sue the states for misuse of the settlement payments? Or taxpayers since the lawsuit was on their behalf?
22 posted on 08/22/2005 5:16:23 AM PDT by newzjunkey (Cindy Sheehan: "All You Are Saying Is Give APPEASEMENT A Chance!")
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To: Clemenza

Now what there needs to be is a lawsuit by the tobacco companies alledging fraud...in that the settlements that were intended to fight the deleterious effects of tobacco are being diverted into government tax schemes!


23 posted on 08/22/2005 5:22:39 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Even when a dog discovers he is barking up a wrong tree, he can still take a leak on it!)
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To: mdmathis6

http://www.quitam.com/

Qui Tam ("who sues on behalf of the king as well as for himself") is a provision of the Federal Civil False Claims Act that allows a private citizen to file a suit in the name of the U.S. Government charging fraud by government contractors and other entities who receive or use government funds, and share in any money recovered.


24 posted on 08/22/2005 6:22:44 AM PDT by sergeantdave (Member of Arbor Day Foundation, travelling the country and destroying open space)
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To: Lokibob
I will do my best.  I have been laid up for three weeks.

Read how much smokers are contributing to their state economy.  And some have the nerve to say smokers are the reason for higher health costs.  Read this and know the truth.

Your State Information:    (up to date)

View your tobacco taxes, a comparison of state excise taxes on cigarettes to state excise taxes on beer and wine, MSA payments to date, State laws, and links to other state-specific information.

Alabama Information / Alaska Information   / Arizona Information / Arkansas Information   / California Information / Colorado Information / Connecticut Information / Delaware Information   / DC Information / Florida Information   / Georgia Information   / Hawaii Information / Idaho Information   / Illinois Information   / Indiana Information   / Iowa Information   / Kansas Information / Kentucky Information / Louisiana Information   / Maine Information / Maryland Information / Massachusetts Information / Michigan Information / Minnesota Information   / Mississippi Information / Missouri Information / Montana Information   / Nebraska Information   / Nevada Information / New Hampshire Information / New Jersey Information   / New Mexico Information / New York Information / North Carolina Information / North Dakota Information   / Ohio Information   / Oklahoma Information   / Oregon Information   / Pennsylvania Information   / Rhode Island Information / South Carolina Information / South Dakota Information / Tennessee Information / Texas Information / United States Information / Utah Information / Vermont Information / Virginia Information / Washington Information   / West Virginia Information   / Wisconsin Information / Wyoming Information  

25 posted on 08/22/2005 6:50:11 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: newzjunkey
Anyone know whether the tobacco companies can sue the states for misuse of the settlement payments? Or taxpayers since the lawsuit was on their behalf?

No they can not. The agreement specifically FORBIDS the companies from having any say in how the money is spent.

26 posted on 08/22/2005 6:55:18 AM PDT by Gabz (USSG Warning: portable sewing machines are known to cause broken ankles)
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To: Just another Joe; Madame Dufarge; MeeknMing; steve50; Cantiloper; metesky; kattracks; ...

Partnership For a Tobacco Free Maine spending $10,000 plus $4500 at Wiscasset Race Track,
Sunday 26th of May 2002 from smoker's taxes we pay on cigarettes in Maine.

 

 

 

Partnership for a Tobacco Free Maine not only sponsoring the race car, they are sponsoring Speedway 96! click here

 

(Rep.Clough (Republican) and Judy Peavy both think this is just fine!)

My letter to Governor King on the 7th of May:

Dear Governor King:   You need to cut programs because of the bad budget.  May I suggest you cut the funding for Partnership for a Tobacco Free Maine?   They are not only sponsoring a race car at Speedway 95, they are SPONSORING Speedway 95! If this isn't misuse of the budget, I don't know what is!   http://www.geocities.com/shelioness/speedway95.html   Cutting programs should start with this one.

19 May 2002-I checked the web site of Speedway 95.  PTFM is no where to be seen.  I hope this is a "good" sign, that the money is going to be better spent elsewhere.

Sadly, I was wrong.  See the article at top.  They spent money at Speedway 95 and now spending a large sum at Wiscasset.

You can write a letter of protest to your Elected Officials.

Mary Beth T. Welton from PTFM:  marybeth.t.welton@state.me.us

27 posted on 08/22/2005 7:12:08 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: SheLion

MASS also built a $175,000 golf course with the taxes smoker's pay on cigarettes.


28 posted on 08/22/2005 7:13:19 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: neverdem

To eveyone..........told you so!


29 posted on 08/22/2005 7:20:44 AM PDT by Sunshine Sister
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To: newzjunkey

"Anyone know whether the tobacco companies can sue the states for misuse of the settlement payments? Or taxpayers since the lawsuit was on their behalf?"

I'm pretty sure that a lawsuit is not possible as part of the settlement. However, an attempt was made to put the spending of the settlement money on the ballot in the state of Michigan. Don't worry, the socialists soundly defeated that attempt to spend the money for what was claimed as the cost to the state.

The only way for the money to be available for this pork spending is for the cost to not have been valid in the beginning. Remember this when smoking ban legislation is being discussed.


30 posted on 08/22/2005 7:25:23 AM PDT by CSM ( If the government has taken your money, it has fulfilled its Social Security promises. (dufekin))
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To: SheLion

Thanks SheLion, I knew you would come through.

Here is hopeing you are on the mend......Bob


31 posted on 08/22/2005 7:36:09 AM PDT by Lokibob (All typos and spelling errors are mine and copyrighted!!!!)
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To: neverdem; SheLion
This lawsuit was never intended to balance ailing state budgets, let alone buy golf carts, cable lines and security cameras.

Sure it was...

32 posted on 08/22/2005 7:39:20 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: neverdem
In North Carolina, 75 percent of the tobacco settlement money went to provide assistance to the tobacco-producing community.

Bwhahahahaha! The morons...this is the kind of thing exposes them for the corrupt, greedy [bleep] that they are.

C'mon, boys, keep diggin'! I can't believe this article was in the Slimes!

33 posted on 08/22/2005 8:07:28 AM PDT by exnavychick (We're damned if we do, damned if we don't...so my vote goes for "do.")
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To: All
The MASS golf course figure should have read $175,000,000.

Sorry bout that! :)

34 posted on 08/22/2005 9:41:49 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: SheLion

Thanks for the links!


35 posted on 08/22/2005 9:44:16 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem
Thanks for the links!

You bet! :)

36 posted on 08/22/2005 9:49:38 AM PDT by SheLion (Trying to make a life in the BLUE state of Maine!)
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To: neverdem
"IN the late 1990's, the tobacco companies made a historic legal settlement with every state and the District of Columbia, agreeing to pay $246 billion over 25 years for tobacco prevention and cessation programs. In the last five years, the states have received $40.7 billion in tobacco settlement revenue but have devoted only 5 percent of this money to fighting the tobacco epidemic."

WOW!!!! The states should have to return all the money to the Tobacco companies, except for the five percent which was used as promised.

37 posted on 08/22/2005 10:48:01 AM PDT by TAdams8591 (Member since December 1998)
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To: SheLion
She Lion, those links are great. I am going to bookmark this thread because of them.

So sorry to hear you were laid up. I hope it was nothing terribly serious or life threatening, and you are feeling better.

38 posted on 08/22/2005 10:51:24 AM PDT by TAdams8591 (Member since December 1998)
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To: Gabz

Too bad.


39 posted on 08/22/2005 10:52:53 AM PDT by TAdams8591 (Member since December 1998)
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To: TAdams8591
WOW!!!! The states should have to return all the money to the Tobacco companies, except for the five percent which was used as promised.

First - the money belongs to smokers, not the companies, the setttlement included a provision to add 45cents per pack to be paid by smokers....the companies pay NOTHING.

Second - the so-called reporters of this article need to do their research. There are no strings attached to this money - the pecentages were "suggestions" of how much should be spent on what. The settlement was supposedly repayment of what the states had spent on treating sick smokers in the past, money that supposedly culdn't be spent on other things..such as balancing budgets. Of course that is all bogus - but that was the premise.

Finally.......Philip Morris is working nationwide to get all states to pass legislation to force companies that did NOT sign the agreement (including ones not even in existence when the settlement was made)to comply with the settlement

In exchange for getting the government to do the dirty work of hurting PM's competition, PM is giving them a pass and not fighting increased cigarette taxes.

40 posted on 08/22/2005 11:24:09 AM PDT by Gabz (USSG Warning: portable sewing machines are known to cause broken ankles)
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To: TAdams8591
Too bad.

Actually it was a calculated move on the part of Philip Morris.....by agreeing to stay out of how the money is spent, they were able to get the costs passed 100% onto the smokers..........the companies were never hurt, nor the stock holders....ONLY the customers.

PM remains firmly in the camp of the antis against their customer base.......because the antis are helping them keep the competition at bay.

41 posted on 08/22/2005 11:27:51 AM PDT by Gabz (USSG Warning: portable sewing machines are known to cause broken ankles)
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To: Gabz

PM had good Legislative teachers--they're all crooks--Nixon just got caught!


42 posted on 08/22/2005 1:27:18 PM PDT by Snoopers-868th
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To: Trout-Mouth

I agree.


43 posted on 08/22/2005 1:31:33 PM PDT by Gabz (USSG Warning: portable sewing machines are known to cause broken ankles)
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To: Smokin' Joe

WTF? I thought all this money was supposed to pay for smoker's health care costs.




That was the way I understood it too.


44 posted on 08/22/2005 3:07:22 PM PDT by The Foolkiller ( Why......That sounds.....FOOLish!)
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To: Graybeard58

This is like all the lottery money that's supposed to go to education. What a joke.




Yea, they said in Ohio that if voters passed the lottery, their property taxes would never have to go up again. They lied. They also said years ago that after a certain point, the turnpike would be next to free. When that deadline came, many years after being built, they raised rates about 90%. It caused MANY deaths, as semi drivers started using regular state routes to avoid paying the increased fees.


45 posted on 08/22/2005 3:13:04 PM PDT by The Foolkiller ( Why......That sounds.....FOOLish!)
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To: Spanaway Lori

Some of the $ WA state has collected in gas tax revenue (which was earmarked for transportation) is going toward ENACTING SMOKING BANS.

That's what you really meant, wasn't it?


46 posted on 08/22/2005 3:15:07 PM PDT by The Foolkiller ( Why......That sounds.....FOOLish!)
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To: Gabz
The fact that the tobacco companies had no contingent agreement about how the money was spent, surely creates suspicion regarding the motive of the tobacco companies themselves. I'm glad you cleared it up.

Unfortunately, all companies have a habit of passing such losses onto the consumer and it is almost always the consumers who pay the penalty. This isn't common only to the Tobacco industry. It's just that few industries have had such major blows to pass along to their customers.

Too bad the tobacco industries were so duplicitous, or they could have recouped the money, lowered their prices, and in that way made up for past costs to the consumer.

Thank you for all your hard work and well-founded research.

47 posted on 08/22/2005 3:34:43 PM PDT by TAdams8591 (Member since December 1998)
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To: TAdams8591

I realize you are totally correct about all businesses passing these type costs onto the consumers.......it's just the nature of doing business.

There are a couple of reasons I continually bring it up in conversations regarding the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). The entire point of the MSA was to put an end to individual states filing lawsuits against the companies...such as the ones that occurred in Mississippi and Texas (& 2 other states), so this was basically an out of court settlement, before the fact in most instances (Delaware is a perfect example, the AG's office refused to file suit because of the costs, and was one of the very last to sign onto the MSA).

But unlike other out of court settlements, this one was entirely public, and it is very specific in just how the companies are able to pass ALL of the costs on to the consumer, including specific $ amounts and the graduated increases in those amounts. HOWEVER........and this is the part that always sticks in my craw.......the media NEVER mentions that part of the deal. They only talk of how the companies are being punished, which in fact is absolutely untrue.

Another egrarious omission from any discussion of the MSA is that consumers had no say in the matter - zip, zilch, nada, NONE...........the only ones at the table were the AGs, the antis, and 5 tobacco companies. In other words only those who would profit from the deal.

Of the dozens of small tobacco companies that existed back then only a few voluntarily signed on to the scheme and raised their prices like the big boys did.........but many others didn't, thus keeping their prices down, and new companies have since popped up all over the country. These companies are now being forced in numerous states to pay into this boondoggle they did not create - all because Philip Morris does not like the competition of the little guys' lower prices.

I'm a "let the market decide" kind of person when it comes to competition - my dander gets up when one of the big boys gets the government to do the dirty work of squashing their competition.

Sorry for my ranting - but as you can guess, this is a subject that absolutely torques me off to no end. And so many people just don't understand what it actually means to everyone...........why do you think the gun lobby worked so hard to get congressional protection against this type of stuff? In Florida, the legislature actually passed legislation to allow this against the tobacco companies, and then after the fact realized it covered ALL industries and so went back and changed the law.

Again, apologies for my ranting. and many thanks for your compliments.


48 posted on 08/22/2005 5:36:59 PM PDT by Gabz (USSG Warning: portable sewing machines are known to cause broken ankles)
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To: Gabz
Figured as much. What a scam. I think any states involved in abusing and misusing the settlement dollars and have an initiative process might be places where The People can put a stop to this wanton abuse. The "leaders" need to be held accountable for doing a hand-jive bait-and-switch.

The company's didn't care, of course, and probably *couldn't* have a veto on how money was used but the voters damn well ought to be able to be heard!

49 posted on 08/23/2005 12:57:27 AM PDT by newzjunkey (Cindy Sheehan: "All You Are Saying Is Give APPEASEMENT A Chance!")
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To: CSM; All
However, an attempt was made to put the spending of the settlement money on the ballot in the state of Michigan. Don't worry, the socialists soundly defeated that attempt to spend the money for what was claimed as the cost to the state.

Sorry that Michigan wasn't successful. Perhaps another state could take a shot here: one with an initiative process like California which can bypass a legislature and put measures directly on a ballot. There's little hope for spending discipline from either party now that the money is flowing.

The only way for the money to be available for this pork spending is for the cost to not have been valid in the beginning.

*Exactly* they're caught in a BIG LIE. But will the MSM hold them accountable? Nope. Will activists? No way.

Expect this very same "revenue enhancement" tactic to be used elsewhere. I still cannot believe people were stupid enough to fall for the war on tobacco when we'd had Fed-mandated warnings on packs, cartons and ads for one or two generations! It's a "feel good" thing. The libs can say "we care" and "we're protecting your children from evil corporations" while their *true* goal is to get more money to pay off special interests, enlarge government, make it more intrusive and grow their socialist power.

50 posted on 08/23/2005 1:05:25 AM PDT by newzjunkey (Cindy Sheehan: "All You Are Saying Is Give APPEASEMENT A Chance!")
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