FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2017
Contact: James Hallinan (505) 660-2216
Santa Fe, NM – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas announced New Mexico will receive the largest tobacco settlement payment in April 2017, a total payment in excess of $50 million. This is due to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) securing an additional $14.5 million after a judge agreed with the OAG that New Mexico was being shortchanged by Big Tobacco. The cigarette industry didn’t want to make the increased payments it owed to New Mexico, but could not identify any legal basis for stopping enforcement of a prior order obtained by the Office of the Attorney General for the extra $14.5million. Late yesterday, First Judicial District Court Judge Ortiz agreed with the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General.
“I will continue to aggressively hold Big Tobacco accountable for the harms cigarettes cause to New Mexicans, and our record $50 million payment for 2017 includes an additional $14.5 million we won for New Mexico,” Attorney General Balderas said. “At a time of severe budget shortfalls and economic crisis, this record recovery will ensure additional funds go to New Mexican children, Medicaid programs, HIV patients, and smoking cessation programs.”
The New Mexico Legislature has determined that tobacco settlement money should be spent primarily on healthcare and education, including the additional $14.5 million that the Office of the Attorney General has secured for 2017. The largest recipient of tobacco settlement money is Medicaid and children make up nearly two-thirds of New Mexico’s Medicaid population. Other vital programs funded by tobacco settlement money include cancer screening, services for HIV patients, and smoking cessation programs.
Copies of pleadings in this matter available upon request.
# # #