State governments may have picked the wrong time to get into the tobacco business. With cigarette sales at the lowest level since 1951 (when the U.S. population was half what it is now), they are making less money than they expected under the 1998 agreement that settled their lawsuits against the major tobacco companies. In addition to reductions in smoking (spurred in part by the agreement itself, which caused a sharp increase in prices), the states have to contend with Philip Morris et al.'s complaint that they have not done enough to protect the leading cigarette manufacturers from small competitors that are not parties to the settlement. Citing a provision in the deal that allows them to reduce their payments if their combined market share falls below a specified threshold, the big tobacco companies plan to withhold $1.2 billion this year. In their defense, the states say they are doing all they can to screw over smokers and smaller tobacco companies through requirements that jack up prices and discourage competition.
The FBI Returned This Innocent Couple's Safe Deposit Box. It Refuses To Give Back Many Others—and Is Trying To Seize $85 Million in Cash.
"It makes me feel like the government is preying on the vulnerable and the weak to line their own pockets."
Indiana Said the Government Should Be Able To Take Everything You Own if You Commit a Drug Crime. The State Supreme Court Wasn't Having It.
After eight years, Tyson Timbs finally gets to keep his Land Rover—once and for all.
Why is it so hard for him to just admit he was wrong?
Arkansas cops love this insane practice they call "precision immobilization technique"—slamming into moving vehicles, sometimes over simple traffic stops.