Citizens for Clean Air in Apartments

Ohio Panel To Recommend Settlement Money Funding Priorities
A panel assembled by Ohio's governor and legislative leaders begins meeting this week to recommend how Ohio should spend the $9.8 billion it expects to receive from the multi-state tobacco settlement. The panel has 60 days to make its recommendations.

The panel is sure to get plenty of recommendations, says Tim Keen, assistant director of the state Office of Budget and Management. "Whenever you're talking about big money like that, folks come out of the woodwork."

Health groups are hoping state lawmakers will devote the first three settlement checks, totaling more than $900 million, to a tobacco control foundation.

The health groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Heart Association are releasing an economic study this week that shows Ohio spends $600 million a year on Medicaid-financed treatments for smoking-related illnesses.

"Unless we invest this money wisely now, even the immense tobacco settlement won't cover those expenses in the future," says Jennifer Tisone Price, a lobbyist for the American Lung Association of Ohio.

CINCINNATI ENQUIRER (on-line), (3/22/99) "Fight Over Tobacco Money Begins", Michael Hawthorne

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