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State may refinance tobacco money

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State officials have agreed to start laying the groundwork for possibly generating as much as $85 million by refinancing part of the state's tobacco settlement.

The infusion of cash would come as state government faces a $1.3 billion shortfall in the money needed to pay for health care, education and other public services in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

During a meeting of the Tobacco Settlement Financing Corp.'s board on Monday, The Advocate reports state Treasurer John Kennedy raised the concern that the impetus for the proposal is the state's money problems.

Money generated from the refinancing would go toward the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, or TOPS, which provides state-funded college scholarships.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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