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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Tobacco Trust Fund earns $35 million

  • Earnings certified for use in the coming year.
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  • The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Board of Investors has certified $35 million in earnings for use in the coming year to combat tobacco addiction and other health issues, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.
     
    Miller is chairman of the board that oversees investment of Oklahoma’s share of the national Master Settlement Agreement. The board certified the annual earnings on Wednesday.
     
    “We have carefully invested this money to make sure Oklahomans get maximum benefit of each dollar,” Miller said. “The funds generated in the past year show we are maximizing investment of this money held in trust for the people of Oklahoma.”
     
    Oklahoma is the only state with a constitutionally-protected endowment to fund health programs. Voters approved creation of the endowment in 2000. Since its inception, more than $179 million in earnings have been certified by the board of investors.
     
    The endowment contains more than $829 million. Investment of the fund is managed by the board of investors. Spending of the earnings is controlled by a separately-appointed board of directors.
     
    A total of 75 percent of Oklahoma’s share of the national Master Settlement Agreement is placed into the endowment each year. The remainder of the settlement payments is appropriated by the Legislature.
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