Surplus tobacco settlement funds spark debate

tobacco

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ share of tobacco settlement funds has come in higher than expected for the second year in a row, prompting a debate in Topeka over where the extra money should go.

Several tobacco companies agreed in 1998 to reimburse states for smoking-related costs over more than two decades, and Kansas law requires the money to be spent on early childhood programs.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Y923nI ) any money left over is supposed to go into the Kansas Endowment for Youth to help fund the programs when the settlement funds run out.

This year Kansas had budgeted $55.8 million from the settlement, but instead received a check for $60.2 million. Children’s advocates say the extra money should go into the endowment, but lawmakers say it’s needed elsewhere in tight economic times.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com

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