Delaware tobacco money may be set aside
WILMINGTON - Two-thirds of the $18.2 million Delaware has received from the nation's leading tobacco manufacturers should be set aside in an endowment fund for the future.
That's the recommendation being offered to Gov. Thomas R. Carper and members of th
The committee met Monday at the University of Delaware's Wilmington campus to start discussing specific numbers associated with the tobacco money.
Delaware received the first installment of $9.7 million Dec. 14, followed by a second installment of $8.5 million Dec. 31. The second installment was 13 percent less than originally expected.
The original agreement between the tobacco companies and the states called for about $775 million to be received by Delaware over the next 25 years.
"The Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco companies and the states contains several clauses that allow the tobacco manufacturers to make certain volume adjustments based on their profits, whether the number of smokers increases or decreases in a state, and other criteria," explained Dr. Gregg C. Sylvester, chair of the Health Fund Advisory Committee.
"I don't think they are going to pay the full amount."
Most committee members agreed that because of the possibility that the final figures from the tobacco companies may be less than expected, and because the Delaware Health Fund is designed to last longer than 25 years, a substantial portion of the money should be invested to start earning more.
"We're looking at investing in a slightly aggressive fashion," said Rep. Deborah H. Capano, R-Fairthorne, a committee member.
Once the committee makes its formal recommendations later this year, it will be up to the General Assembly and Gov. Carper to decide where the money should go.
"The sooner this committee can make recommendations to the General Assembly, the better off the General Assembly will be in making its decisions before June 30," said Sen. David B. McBride, D-Hawk's Nest, a committee member.
The committee's next meeting is Jan. 24 at the Delaware Technical & Community College Terry Campus in Dover.