June 25, 2007

Tobacco and the Budget. Or Not.

Carroll Andrew Morse

WJAR-TV (NBC 10) is reporting that...

Attorney General Patrick Lynch said Monday that he won't sign off on the General Assembly's plan to use tobacco settlement money to close the state's budget deficit.
(h/t Dan Yorke)

WPRO's Colleen Lima reporting that AG Lynch hasn't quite said he won't go along; he's said he has until 3 pm tomorrow to provide his required sign-off, and has not yet reviewed the legislature's plan to his satisfaction.

AG Lynch on with Dan Yorke. If the state does not meet certain requirements that come with the tobacco money, the state might lose some or all of it.

Yorke asks Lynch what the odds are that he won't sign off. Lynch answers "I don't gamble".


Because of developments in other states, Rhode Island’s chances of ever seeing money from the lead paint settlement have become 50/50 at best. If over the next year or two, Patrick Lynch becomes the Attorney General who lost both the lead paint money and the tobacco money (even though “lost” wouldn’t be a fair characterization in the lead paint case, but we’re talking about perceptions here), his chances at winning elective office in 2010 would be nil. So he’s going over the tobacco agreement with a fine-tooth comb, to make sure nothing that the General Assembly is proposing allows the tobacco companies to back out of the deal.

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Yeah? This will last exactly as long as it takes for brother Billy to get to him.

Posted by: Greg at June 25, 2007 6:08 PM

That was teh weirdest interview I've heard since the one where Paula Abdul was stoned. The AG didn't clearly answer anything and just seemed to ramble on about non-specific factoids.

What are these 'requirements' he danced around? Are we not in compliance with the agreement? Details?

Posted by: Greg at June 25, 2007 7:08 PM

I'm really hoping the AG is not allowed to sign off on the plan. Maybe then the GA will be forced to go back to do what is right for a change...A BIG CHANGE!

Posted by: Ben at June 25, 2007 9:32 PM

"The AG didn't clearly answer anything and just seemed to ramble on about non-specific factoids."

Nooo, really?? Are you sure it was Patrick Lynch, Gregg?? That would be so unlike him. King of the rambling non-answer ...

Rampant Speculation Scenario #2. Lynch is out to grab a headline (which is Job One for Lynch, Caprio, Mollis and Ciccilline for the next three years) by stealing the Governor's idea of taking the tobacco porceeds off the table. There has been grumbling and even threats of litigation by tobacco companies about how states have been spending these settlement funds (i.e., not on smoking abatement) which may be a basis for doing so. Although why Lynch could not articulate this on Yorke's show is a little mystifying.

In any case, it's a good bet that one of the Lynch brothers got a fire breathing call or message from Billy Murphy this afternoon demanding to know why Patrick wants to bust up their perfectly nice budget.

Posted by: SusanD at June 25, 2007 11:00 PM

Does this mean that the GA is going to have to kick its tobacco money habit cold turkey?

Posted by: Tom W at June 26, 2007 12:30 AM
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