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State Leaders Make Plan to Dole Out Tobacco Money

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RALEIGH — North Carolina will get $5 billion as part of a national tobacco settlement. Monday, state leaders came up with a plan on how to dole out the money.

Monday,Attorney General Mike Easleydid two things. Easley signed a consent decree to claim North Carolina's $5 billion stake in the tobacco deal.

And, he announced a plan to make sure that money goes to the people and places in our state where it's needed the most.

"This particular product does not work for the communities like before," said Attorney General Mike Easley.

With recent quota cuts, Easley says tobacco is no longer a product strong enough to be the life-line for the many communities in our state that are so dependent on it.

To deal with problems and financial and infrastructure shortfalls that these tobacco-based communities could soon face, Easley plans to form a 15-member foundation to decide which communities get the money, and where exactly it should go.

"The foundation will try and find the needs then go in and try to meet them," said Easley.

All this still requires approval by the state legislature. Easley expects that to happen by March at the latest.

He also says North Carolina's first payment of around $56 million should come soon. Half of that money will go to the foundation and then to those communities that need it.

Easley is still working out a separate plan that will get money to the growers. That announcement is probably still a few months away.


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