Over the past 18 years Kansas has been paid slightly more than $1 billion by tobacco companies, officials said Monday. As The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the money has come from annual payments to compensate for the health consequences of smoking. The money came as part of a 1999 legal settlement to resolve claims by 45 states, including Kansas.
The agreement allowed Kansas to recover some of the costs of tobacco-related illness and diseases. In Kansas, most of the money has been used to finance programs for children. Under the terms of the master settlement agreement, the money will begin to decline significantly beginning in April of 2018.
That’s bad news for the cash-strapped state. Last year the Legislature and Governor Sam Brownback agreed to raise the statewide tobacco tax, to increase state revenue.