BATON ROUGE, LA – Legal experts from the state Attorney Generals Office are scheduled to present the Tobacco Settlement Payment Options Task Force with a legal game plan of how the state might sell or securitize its tobacco settlement at a 1:30 p.m. March 13 meeting in Senate Committee Room A of the State Capitol.

During that meeting, the Attorney Generals Office may also set forth legal options to address task force members concerns about protecting a possible lump-sum tobacco payment from being used to offset the state’s current fiscal problems.

State Treasurer John Kennedy, co-chair of the task force, said, Its important that all legal questions are answered and any loopholes that exist be closed before we proceed any further in this matter.

Louisiana is not a rich state; we need these funds, he said. That’s why its imperative that this task force seek the very best option available and recommend the necessary safeguards.

The constitutional amendment that specifies how Louisiana’s portion of the tobacco settlement will be spent assumes continuous annual payments will be made by the tobacco companies. The amendment specifies that 45 percent of the settlement funds be placed in a trust fund in the second year, 60 percent in the third year, and 75 percent in the fourth and ensuing years. It does not take into account the selling or securization of the settlement, which would be create a single large payment.

Kevin Cunningham, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Mike Foster, said he would make sure the Task Forces recommendations are in the call for the special session, which begins March 20.

Delia Taylor, Communications Director
(225) 342-0010