Missouri budget can’t count on tobacco proceeds

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO(AP) – Missouri’s budget concerns are continuing to mount.

Attorney General Chris Koster’s office says the state cannot count on receiving $50 million of tobacco settlement proceeds in time to be used during the 2015 budget year that starts July 1.

The Legislature had assumed the money would be available to help pay pharmaceutical costs in the state’s Medicaid program.

State budget director Linda Luebbering says those Medicaid expenditures are mandatory. So the state will have to use general revenues to cover Medicaid costs, which could leave less money available for other programs.

The tobacco company funds are part of an annual payment Missouri receives under a 1998 settlement with states over their costs of providing health care to people with tobacco-related ailments.

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