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Michigan uses well-worn tactic in shifting tobacco cash

Jun 18, 2016

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - To rescue Detroit's school district from potential insolvency, Michigan is turning to a familiar playbook.

  It will shift more than a quarter of the state's $250 million annual payment from tobacco companies to Detroit schools. The move is the latest in a line of tapping the legal settlement when the governor and lawmakers are in a pinch.

  With the latest Detroit bailout, all but $26 million, or about 10 percent, of the yearly tobacco cash is automatically spoken for.

  It could curb legislators' options whenever another fiscal emergency hits. It's also another blow for health advocates who say the state is shortchanging smoking prevention and cessation programs.

  Drawing from the tobacco settlement enables Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature to avoid reducing funding for other districts across the state.