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The Regional Review | DEVELOPMENTS IN ORANGE, RIVERSIDE,
SAN BERNARDINO AND VENTURA COUNTIES

Ballot Measure to Be Sought on Tobacco Funds

May 17, 2000

ORANGE COUNTY — Health care advocates plan to file 117,000 signatures today to put an initiative on the November ballot to let voters decide how Orange County should spend an estimated $763 million in national tobacco settlement funds over the next 25 years.

The decision to go directly to voters came Tuesday, immediately after the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 against a compromise plan to divide the tobacco windfall, with 60% for health care and anti-smoking programs and the remaining 40% for jail construction and debt reduction.

The initiative, proposed by a health care coalition and backed by the county's major physician and hospital groups and lawmakers from both political parties, would require that 80% of the money be spent on health and anti-smoking programs, with 20% reserved for law enforcement.

Members of CHARTS, Citizens Health Alliance to Reinvest the Tobacco Settlement, had worked with county officials for the past month on the compromise plan. After it was rejected, coalition members moved forward with the initiative.

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