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Post date: September 27 1999

Spitzer Announces Expected Payments Of Tobacco Settlement Funds To Counties

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that he has informed New York City and all 57 counties across the state of the amount of money they will receive as a result of the lawsuit against the tobacco companies. The money will begin to flow to the local governments no later than July 2000, and the payments could begin even sooner. (See attached breakdown)

New York's portion of the settlement will amount to $25 billion through the year 2025, with additional payments continuing thereafter.
A ruling by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in July upheld the formula which divides New York's tobacco monies, with the State receiving 51.1%, New York City 26.6% and the counties sharing the remaining 22.3%.

That ruling was not appealed, and last week the tobacco companies agreed that New York's portion of the settlement is now final.
This week Attorney General Spitzer sent a letter to New York City and all counties advising them of the amounts of money that they can expect to receive each year under the settlement.

"I wanted to get this information out as soon as possible so that County Executives and County Legislators would have it as they prepare their budgets for next year and beyond," said Spitzer.

"Beginning next July at the latest, county leaders are free to use this money for any programs they see fit, whether it's to cut taxes, invest in their community, or pay for health programs. The important news here is that taxpayers will soon be recouping some of the money they've been forced to spend over the years due to the lies of Big Tobacco."

Before New York's money can be released, "final approval" of the nationwide lawsuit against the tobacco industry must be achieved. To reach that goal, 80% of the 52 states and territories that are part of the nationwide settlement must finalize their individual settlements, and those settling states must represent 80% of the total money to be awarded.

So far, more than 80% of the state cases have reached finality, but they represent only about 67% of the total settlement funds. Even if the second 80% threshold is not reached, "final approval" for New York and other states which have reached finality will automatically occur next July.

California, which will receive about 12% of the total award, is one of the states which has yet to settle. Attorney General Spitzer noted that if California reaches finality quickly, New York and its local governments could receive their settlement funds by the end of this year.