OLYMPIA -04/05/02 - Attorney General Christine Gregoire said today Brown and Williamson Tobacco Company, the nation's third largest cigarette manufacturer, has agreed to pay 52 states and territories approximately $204 million that it withheld from payments due in January.
Washington's share will be about $4 million, which would push the April tobacco company payment to about $111 million.
Brown and Williamson disputed the validity of industry-wide figures, which form the basis for calculating payments to states under the Master Settlement Agreement.
"The states are still out there fighting for tobacco settlement money that's due them under the Master Settlement Agreement," said Gregoire. "With the large amounts of money involved, I think the states will always need aggressive advocates."
The tobacco payments to states go on in perpetuity and are expected to exceed $200 billion by 2025.
Cigarette manufacturers make major payments to the states in January and April of each year as required by the MSA. Payments are subject to numerous adjustments that can increase or decrease the amounts due.
The settlement with Brown and Williamson was negotiated by the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, whose members include Gregoire. The committee coordinates the enforcement of the MSA by all 52 settling states and monitors compliance by tobacco companies with the public health provisions of the agreement.