Tobacco settlement brings less money to U

The University will receive less money for smoking prevention efforts and medical education as a result of a decline in smokers.
Minnesota set aside $1.3 billion for endowments as part of the tobacco companies’ $6.1 billion settlement in 1998 with the state.
The University expected to receive a $378 million endowment for medical education. In addition, $590 million was slated for smoking prevention efforts.
But because tobacco companies shipped 13 percent less product in 1999 than in 1997, the amount for endowments has been reduced. The endowments are tied to smoking rates and tobacco company profits.
Originally the University had counted on earnings of $8 million dollars on endowments to pay for medical education. Now the University is expected to receive a little more than $7 million to spend on the Academic Health Center this school year.
“It’s a surprise, and it hurts,” said Frank Cerra, head of the Academic Health Center. “I had to cut about $1 million I had already allocated.”
Cerra said he had to cut all department budgets by 12 percent, four months into the school year.

— Compiled from staff and wire reports