It looks as if Andrew’s speculation might have been correct:
Lynch, who must approve such bonding authorizations, complained that he is being rushed. The problem: the tobacco money comes with strings attached.
“It’s dramatically different from other bonds that I sign,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve had to look at a bond along those lines.”
As of yesterday afternoon, he said he and his staff had not had enough time to examine all the strings. …
The state needs to be careful, Lynch said, because the tobacco companies, hoping to avoid paying some of that money, have begun challenging states that do not comply with the master agreement.
Lynch said he had no evidence that Rhode Island was not fulfilling its obligation under the pact, but he needs to be sure to avoid jeopardizing the funds the state needs for the coming fiscal year, and for additional money the state is expected to receive from the settlement further down the line.
There also appears to be a bit of ego fluffing involved, but it’s not necessary to emphasize that to be disgusted. For one thing, I’m not sure how the General Assembly’s inability to control its hand-out psychosis counts among “the societal costs of smoking.” More broadly, though, from the presumptuous money grab, to the misappropriation of the funds, to the willingness to throw away hundreds of millions of dollars to get a quick infusion now, the whole thing — and the whole state government — stinks.