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McCaskill: Missouri is misspending tobacco settlement money

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(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)
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McCaskill

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – A state audit released Wednesday shows Missouri is spending only a fraction of its share of the national tobacco settlement on anti-smoking programs.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill says Missouri has spent less than one percent of the $965 million it's received on smoking prevention and enforcement.

Nearly 70 percent of its settlement money has gone to general revenue. McCaskill said state budgeters augmented that fund by charging fees during frequent transfers among accounts.

"Because these were being moved from fund to fund, they were hitting it every time," McCaskill said. "So the same money was being charged over and over and over again."

A spokesman for Governor Matt Blunt said budget officials agree with McCaskill's recommendation to consolidate accounts.

He also blamed McCaskill in part for not trying to change the system she now criticizes.

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