Hands Off Tobacco Settlement Funds, Ohio Court Orders State

The state of Ohio has been permanently banned from raiding the state’s $250-million tobacco-settlement fund to use the money for other budgetary priorities, the Columbus Dispatch reported Aug. 11.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and some lawmakers wanted to use the money to balance the state budget, but Judge David W. Fais of Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued a permanent injunction against the move, saying that draining the fund “would result in a substantial increase in medical expense for both Ohioans and the state of Ohio for treatment of tobacco-related disease.”

Fais previously ruled that the American Legacy Foundation was entitled to the fund proceeds.

Strickland and Senate President Bill M. Harris both indicated that an appeal of the ruling is likely.

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