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Tobacco Tax Settlement Will Bring Over $100 Million To The State

Woman holding a cigarette.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced Monday that the state Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit with several tobacco companies that will bring in more than $100 million to state coffers over the next 10 years.

The announcement came from the outgoing Attorney General seven months after the lawsuit was initially filed.

“Today I am announcing we have achieved a one of a kind groundbreaking and historic settlement," Fox said.

The Montana Department of Justice sued several tobacco companies for withholding $43 million from the state. The companies withheld about 10 percent of their annual payments to the state since the early 2000s, alleging that state officials have not properly enforced tobacco tax laws. The companies are required to make the payments to help states cover the cost of health care for people with tobacco-related illnesses.

Fox said there was no evidence that Montana was not enforcing its tobacco tax laws. 

“In fact, they had ample evidence of Montana’s diligence," he said.

Montana will recover more than $49 million to the Tobacco Trust and Children’s Health Insurance Program, and 11 percent of the settlement will go to the state’s General Fund. The tobacco companies also have to guarantee they’ll pay Montana the annual payments in full for the next 10 years.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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