Legislative Leader Hopes Lessons from Tobacco Settlement Inform Opioid Spending
The Republican leader of the Ohio House says he’s watching what happened this week with the last-minute settlement to stop the big opioid trial in Cleveland – and the billions of dollars involved in it.
Larry Householder says he’s worried about what he calls a potential lost generation of kids with parents and other caregivers who have fallen victim to the opioid epidemic. And he says he’s watching the dollar amounts and how they’ll be spent because he remembers Ohio using the 1998 tobacco settlement to fix schools and plug a budget hole, and then selling off $8 billion in future payments for a lump sum of $5 billion.
“I’m keeping a very close eye on this because I remember that very well. And yes, I think a lot of that money was piddled away, and it could have been much better use[d].” Householder recalls.
Householder says there’s $37 million in the current budget just for wraparound services for the schools.
“When I look at the amounts they’re talking about, I just think about one number. And that’s $37 million for wraparound services just this biennial budget in school districts to take care of kids that many of them have been affected by this.”
A bill that would give state lawmakers authority to spend nearly all settlement money was drafted but never introduced.