Ohio budget leans on frozen tobacco funds

The Ohio budget includes $258 million for human services from the settlement withcigarettes online buy companies that has been frozen by a court challenge.

Anti-smoking advocates say the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation funds can be used only for smoking-reduction programs, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported Thursday.

The state originally asked Common Pleas Judge David Fais in Franklin County to allow the $258 million to be used for economic stimulus but later switched it to programs for programs for abused children and other needy groups.

Fais said in February in a preliminary decision the anti-tobacco groups have a “substantial likelihood of success.”

“If these dollars weren’t available, it would be a disaster for abused and neglected children we serve, the frail elderly we serve, and the people who are needing the optional Medicaid services,” said Gayle Channing Tenenbaum, legislative director for the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

Critics say Gov. Ted Strickland’s budget contains other questionable revenue assumptions. The budget assumes a proposal for slot machines at race tracks will generate $933 million.

The state has also overestimated its revenues in the past two years, the newspaper said.

source: http://www.upi.com

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