The state treasury received 52-million dollars Thursday — but it wasn’t a rush of taxpayers sending in their state returns. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says the money was the latest payment from the big tobacco settlement. Miller says the tobacco companies have now paid Iowa 303-million dollars in six years, with 19 years of payments left to go. He says the payments will gradually go up over time at various points. He says the state will eventually receive between one-and-a-half and one billion dollars over the 25 years. Miller says the tobacco companies now continue to do good business and the payments don’t appear to be in any jeopardy.He says the clouds on the horizon would be large judgments against the tobacco companies. He says there’s a large judgment in Illinois pending against Phillip Morris, for example. Miller says the day-to-day sales of cigarettes is not the problem, it’s the potential for more large judgments. Miller says the state sold part of its settlement into bonds as a hedge against future payment. He says when they get a payment, 78-percent goes into the fund to pay off the bonds, the rest goes into a state health account. The bonds were for 644-million dollars issued in 2001. Miller says the bonds will be paid off over a 25-year period. The tobacco companies make settlement payments each year on April 15th.
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