The Honorable Trent Lott
Majority Leader
United States Senate
Capitol Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Mr. Leader:

During your recent visit with us at our winter meeting, you indicated your support for tobacco funds remaining in the states. We wish to thank you for your support, and to once again indicate that the National Governors Association's position is for a clean bill without any earmarks or setasides. We oppose any and all amendments that would place any restriction on this funding. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and Bob Graham have offered a bill, S. 346, that now has over forty cosponsors, that would protect state tobacco funds from unwarranted seizure by the federal government. This is a major priority for the nation's Governors.

The nation's Governors are committed to spending a significant portion of the tobacco settlement funds on smoking cessation programs, health care, education, and programs benefiting children. This represents the Governors' desire to spend funds on state programs that are tailored to the individual needs of their citizens.

States are in the process of finalizing their budgets for the fiscal year and need a very timely resolution to this issue. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Governor Thomas R. Carper

Governor Michael O. Leavitt