Indiana is poised to lose more than $60 million it was supposed to get from a landmark tobacco settlement in the 1990s.
That is money that was supposed to be used for health programs across the state.
Forty-six states reached a settlement with the four largest tobacco companies in 1998 that pays out more than $200 billion over 25 years. Indiana has received nearly $2 billion so far.
More than 40 other tobacco companies have since joined the settlement and part of the settlement requires states to ensure those companies are paying the correct amounts into escrow. An arbitrator last month ruled Indiana is one of six states that failed to adequately do so.
The ruling will cost the state nearly half of the $131 million it was supposed to receive next year.
Those are dollars that have helped fund tobacco cessation programs, community health centers and the state’s children’s health insurance program.
Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, says Indiana needs to find ways to cover the lost dollars.
“We are constantly thumping our chests that we’ve got $2 billion in reserves,” he says. “Will we dip into that or will there be those drastic cuts?”
The Indiana Attorney General’s office says it will appeal the ruling.