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Tue March 12, 2013
N.H. May See Bump In Tobacco Settlement Money
The deal ended the dispute between 17 states and tobacco companies over payment amounts under 1998's master settlement agreement that requires cigarette makers to help states cover the medical costs of sick smokers. At issue, is money tobacco companies had withheld on the grounds that states were not forcing non-participating companies to pay into escrow, as required under the 46-state settlement. The total value of the new agreement is $4b, but Deputy attorney general Ann Rice says NH's piece is small.
“Essentially we get about a gain for this year of $15m, but then in the next 4 years, we would have to pay back to the tobacco companies and additional $3m to $4m. So, the net gain for the state overall is probably $1m to $2m.”
To receive any money from the settlement lawmakers need to approved it before end of the month. The Senate is expected to vote Thursday. The House is likely to take it up next week. But a legal challenge from non-participating states could still block the entire deal.