Apr. 8 2008
Washington, D.C. — Governor Ted Strickland and Ohio legislators have abandoned Ohio's kids and put the state's health at risk with their underhanded actions today to raid funds from the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation. This decision will guarantee that for years to come more Ohio children will become addicted to tobacco, more Ohio citizens will die prematurely from tobacco use, and all Ohio taxpayers will foot the bill for higher health care costs. This will be the shameful legacy of Governor Strickland, Senate President Bill Harris and House Speaker Jon Husted unless they reverse course.
It is actions like this that feed public distrust of government. In 1998, Ohio's leaders made a public commitment to use a portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars the state would receive under the state tobacco settlement to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. Today's decision by Governor Strickland and the Legislature to raid the Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation's fund of $230 million breaks that promise. They have acted with no opportunity for public input, little debate and on the basis of decisions made behind closed doors.
Unless this decision is reversed, today will be a dark day for Ohio's kids and the state's health.