July 19, 2010 - A 16 percent reduction in North Carolina’s annual share of the federal tobacco settlement (Master Settlement Agreement (MSA)) has prompted belt-tightening at state agencies that depend on the money. Major U.S. tobacco companies make the payments to the states based in part on domestic cigarette consumption, which fell by 9.3 percent, to 325 billion sticks (individual cigarettes), in 2009, contributing to the smaller payouts.
Having received $175 million in 2009, North Carolina’s share fell to $146.4 million in 2010. The 2009 figure was somewhat inflated by money the tobacco companies had withheld earlier but then released in time for that year’s payouts. But even discounting the extra ‘09 portion, the reduction for North Carolina was still 10 percent.
“It was significant,” says William Upchurch, executive director of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, whose share from the tobacco settlement, known as the Master Settlement Agreement, or MSA, fell from $43.7 million in 2009 to $36.6 million this year.
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Reference: As smoking drops, so does ‘tobacco cash’ by Lee Weisbecker,
Triangle Business Journal, 7/16/2010.