AMENDMENT ADDS $50 MILLION TO PERMANENT HEALTH FUND
(Austin, TX) — This afternoon, Senator Hinojosa offered an amendment to Senate Bill 1581 that requires all tobacco manufacturers operating in Texas to pay into the tobacco settlement account (Permanent Health Fund) to offset societal costs associated with tobacco use. The extra funds could be used to fund medical schools and institutions of higher learning and research. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa released the following statement.
"The amendment has a specific purpose: making sure companies that sell tobacco products pay their fair share to the state for the damage caused by tobacco and furthering our institutions of health, higher learning, and research.
"This revenue raising tool allows us to increase the funds available in the Permanent Health Fund. This additional money could be used to supplement the state's investments in institutions such as Texas A&M Health Science Center; the Bio Security Center in McAllen; UT Health Science Centers in South Texas, San Antonio, Houston; and the Texas Tech Health Science Center."
This amendment creates a formula through which the 35 Non-Participating Manufacturers would pay a similar fee as the three Participating Manufacturers (RJ Reynolds, Phillip Morris and Lorillard) to offset expenses for tobacco-related health care costs. The three original tobacco manufacturers pay an annual base payment to Texas ($580 million), adjusted for inflation or 3 percent of the base payment, whichever is greater. (pg. 4, amendment - fee a 43 cents per pack)