Indiana will lose $63 million in tobacco settlement payments next year after an arbitration panel decision.
The group determined the state had not worked hard enough to collect funds from cigarette companies that aren’t part of the deal. The ruling means that Indiana’s payment will drop from $131 million to $68 million in 2014.
The state can appeal.
Currently, the money is earmarked for a diverse group of health care programs, including tobacco cessation, children’s health insurance and community mental health centers. State legislators say that the state has a $2 billion surplus but if tobacco settlement payments continue to be reduced, lawmakers will be forced to take that into consideration when negotiating the next budget.