to Receive $76 million in tobacco payments
DES MOINES-- Attorney General Tom Miller said Wednesday that Iowa will receive it first installment of $76 million in tobacco payments no later than one year from today.
Following is a comment from Miller on the tobacco money:
Iowa's share of the nationwide tobacco settlement is $1,938,119,912, and the first installment of about $76 million will be delivered no later than June 30, 2000 -- one year from today. The funds will be available for appropriation by the General Assembly that convenes next January.
I believe we need to spend a significant share of the funds to prevent youth tobacco addiction and improve the health of all Iowans. We obtained the money because of the health problems caused by tobacco, and we should use a good part of it to solve them.
Most important, we need to use part of this money to keep our kids from becoming addicted to tobacco products. We can save lives, avoid pain and heartache, and save taxpayer dollars. Five thousand Iowans die every year from tobacco-related disease, and it is mostly young Iowans who are taking up smoking and replacing smokers who die.
We know that a comprehensive pro-health program works. It's already being proven in California, Massachusetts, Florida, Oregon, and Mississippi -- states that are tackling the issue on every front, from reducing sales to children to convincing kids that smoking is not cool. I've proposed a comprehensive program in the past, and I will do so again.
The clock is ticking. We have a tremendous opportunity to use some of this tobacco money to dramatically improve the health of our young people and all Iowans.
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