Special perks that benefit tobacco companies?  Preserving loopholes that create an uneven playing field?   That’s not fairness; that’s foolish. Fortunately, it’s a situation the Missouri legislature has an opportunity to fix this year by passing something called Allocable Share legislation.

This should be a no-brainer for Missouri progressives, who supported the original tobacco settlement- a settlement that forced big tobacco to take responsibility for its actions and the harm done by its product, but which needs a little tweaking.  The bottom line is that the settlement, while a milestone, does contain a loophole that Allocable Share legislation would fix.  In essence, it would prevent the current situation in which a few tobacco companies pay into an escrow account on the pretext that the money in that account will cover damages where they get sued and lose in court, but where in practice, that money disappears.  As it stands, some companies get a near 100 percent refund.  That’s bad policy that gives big tobacco a helping hand they don’t need, puts the state on the hook, and leaves a lot of risk and uncertainty on the cards for those suffering from tobacco-related illnesses who want to pursue legal remedies.

Missouri’s Democrats should stand for this legislation and help make the fix this year.  Allocable Share legislation would hold all big tobacco companies accountable, on the same, tough terms, and protect Missouri families.