Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Wednesday, June 20, 2001


Additional $114 Million to be Available Over the Next 3 Years

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn announced today that approximately $39 million will become immediately available to help Texas counties pay for medical expenses incurred and not otherwise reimbursed. Another $75 million will be available over the next three years, resulting in a net gain of $114 million. This additional funding is the result of a recent clarification to the original settlement the State of Texas reached with the various tobacco companies in 1997.

"My office is actively negotiating with the affected tobacco companies to assure that Texas gets all the money its due from the original settlement," Attorney General Cornyn said. "This recent adjustment will give Texas counties additional funding to cover costs that might otherwise be passed on to local taxpayers."

The extra money will be deposited into the Tobacco Settlement Permanent Trust Account, which is maintained by the state comptroller's office. This account distributes a certain portion of its annual earnings to Texas counties each April. The additional funding will boost the overall balance of the account which, in turn, will increase the amount of dividends available for distribution.

"This permanent trust fund will assure that Texas counties have a place to seek help for any unexpected medical expenses they might have," Cornyn added. "It certainly won't erase all debts, but it will give county officials something they can count on."

Texas first negotiated a settlement with the four largest tobacco companies in 1997. The agreement calls for those companies to pay the state $16 billion over a 25-year period. The benefits of the settlement are expected to go on indefinitely.

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