Missouri had expected to receive about $130 million this April under an annual settlement payment from tobacco companies.
But it looks like Missouri will get less than half that amount because of an arbitrator's ruling that state officials failed to diligently enforce the settlement a decade ago.
House and Senate committees heard testimony this past week on legislation that the attorney general's office and major tobacco companies both say is necessary if the state wants to negotiate a smaller loss of tobacco funds. The bill would, in essence, force a price hike on some cheaper cigarettes that compete with the brands made by big tobacco companies.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream says the bill faces opposition and definitely won't pass in time to reverse this year's reduced tobacco payment.