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$26.3 Million in Tobacco Trust Earnings Certified


From A News Release

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) Board of Investors has preliminarily certified $26.3 million in earnings for use in the coming year to fund prevention and reduction of tobacco use and other health issues, State Treasurer Ken Miller announced today.

Miller is chairman of the board that oversees investment of Oklahoma’s share of the national Master Settlement Agreement. The board certified the preliminary earnings on Wednesday. In November, following completion of an annual audit, the board will certify final earnings.

For FY-16, the fund’s investment performance ranks in the 12th percentile of public endowments, meaning it achieved better results than 88 percent of its peers. Last year the fund generated more than $46 million from investments, but this year the markets have yielded significantly lower earnings for all investors.

“Despite suppressed markets and lower earnings, I’m pleased we were able to outperform the majority of our peers and generate this additional funding for the good work of TSET,” Miller said. “This certification brings to $316.3 million the total earnings made available from investment of Oklahoma’s share of the tobacco settlement since 2000.”

Approved by voters in 2000, Oklahoma is the only state with a constitutionally-protected endowment funded by the tobacco settlement.

On June 30, the end of the fiscal year, the endowment contained more than $1 billion. Investment of the fund is managed by the board of investors. The earnings are used by appointed members of the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Board of Directors to fund grants and programs to improve health.

A total of 75 percent of Oklahoma’s share of the national Master Settlement Agreement is placed into the endowment each year.

Under the settlement agreement, tobacco companies annually pay states based on the number of cigarettes sold in the country. Payments to date to Oklahoma total $1.32 billion, and will continue as long as cigarettes are sold nationally.

The endowment has received $873.9 million of the state’s share and the remainder has been divided between health care-related appropriations by the Legislature and the attorney general’s evidence fund.