COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A judge has permanently barred Ohio authorities from spending roughly $250 million in anti-tobacco funds on other programs and balancing the state budget.
Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge David Fais issued the permanent injunction Tuesday. A preliminary ruling had previously frozen state's use of the money.
Gov. Ted Strickland and state lawmakers planned to spend the roughly $250 million on Medicaid services.
But Fais says the state could issue bonds instead and that erasing the tobacco fund would raise the state's costs in treating tobacco-related diseases.
Strickland says he is disappointed and will appeal the ruling.
The state says it has enough money to fund Medicaid services until December but will then have to approach the Legislature.
In a recession, should a state be allowed to use funding they deem non-essential to make up funding for programs they consider essential, such as Medicaid?