State Rep. Bob Irvin, R-Atlanta, has come up with the best idea yet on how to spend the $206 billion windfall most states will be receiving over the next 25 years from the recent tobacco settlement -- $4.8 billion for Georgia and $2.2 billion for South Carolina.
Give it to the taxpayer, every cent of it. The legal theory of the case, notes the Georgia House minority leader, holds that tobacco companies are reimbursing states for Medicaid and other smoke-related health-care costs incurred over the past several decades.
But who paid those costs? To say that the government did is blowing smoke, says Irvin. In actuality, taxpayer money paid the medical bills and if Big Tobacco is reimbursing the government, it's only fair for the government to reimburse the taxpayers.
He's got a point. Are the governor-elects in Georgia and South Carolina listening?