How Wall Street Tobacco Deals Left States with Billions in Toxic Debt

In November 1998, attorneys general from across the country sealed a historic deal with the tobacco industry to pay for the health care costs of smoking. Then, Wall Street came knocking with an offer many state and local politicians found irresistible: Cash upfront for those governments willing to trade investors the right to some or all of their tobacco payments. Things haven’t exactly worked out as planned, finds Pro Publica in an analysis of more than 100 of these deals.