13-Year Old Tobacco Settlement Still the Subject of Disputes

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$7.1 billion Payment Dispute

A proposed settlement between big tobacco and the states to resolve a $7.1 billion payment dispute was rejected the states last month. The deal requires the approval of a “critical mass” of states in order to be finalized, and certain states, including Utah, New Jersey and Missouri, representing more than half of the market share have rejected the deal, thus putting the parties at an impasse.

The proposed settlement have allowed large tobacco companies to recoup approximately $2 billion from funds that have been withheld from states or otherwise disputed under the 1998 master settlement agreement, with the states collecting approximately $5.1 billion of the disputed payments. In exchange for allowing the allowing cash-strapped states to collect several billion dollars of the disputed payments, the 1998 master settlement agreement would be revised with respect to how the states collect fees and taxes from smaller companies that have not joined the 1998 master settlement.

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