JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The state of Missouri received roughly $60 million from two lawsuit settlements in the past few weeks, and Sen. Jason Holsman says it should go to restoring some of the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Eric Greitens.
The money comes from two settlements; $10 million comes from a multi-state settlement with the Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. and Moody’s Analytics, Inc. The company settled on Jan. 18 with the Justice Department, agreeing to pay a total of $864 million to 21 states and the District of Columbia.
The other $50 million stems from a unanimous decision by the Missouri Supreme Court, which allows the state to recoup $50 million it was owed from a 2003 settlement with tobacco companies.
Attorney General Josh Hawley and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced Tuesday morning at a House budget hearing that the $10 million would be immediately remitted to the state’s general revenue fund.
“Justice has been served for those who suffered at the hands of Moody’s practice of assigning inflated credit ratings to toxic assets leading up to the financial crisis of 2008,” Hawley said. “Today, I join with Secretary Ashcroft to announce that these funds will be placed back in the General Revenue Fund in order to help balance Missouri’s budget and move our state’s economic interests forward to the benefit of all Missourians.”
“In such difficult budget times, remitting $10 million to General Revenue is a great result in this case,” Ashcroft added. “In addition to the revenue which benefits the people of Missouri, the settlement seeks to provide protections for investors who rely on rating services for their investments.”
Hawley previously announced the $50 million settlement earlier in the week.
Holsman, in a release issued Tuesday, said that the additional funds should be used to restore the $52 million in cuts to services for Missourians living with disabilities.
Greitens announced those cuts in early February when he released his budget proposal.
The proposed cuts are expected to affect an estimated 20,000 people who need in-home or nursing care.
“There is no denying that the budget is tight and difficult choices will have to be made,” Holsman said. “But the money needed to restore these cuts is real, it’s available and it should be used to prevent 20,000 vulnerable Missourians from losing the life changing – and sometimes lifesaving – care that they need.”
Combined, the two settlements would provide enough money to cover the estimated $52 million in cuts and still a few million untouched.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.