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Court decision cuts state's tobacco revenue loss

HARRISBURG (AP) The state attorney general's office says a split decision in a Philadelphia court means Pennsylvania loses tens of million dollars in payments from tobacco companies, but avoids an outcome that threatened a $170 million loss.

First Deputy Attorney General Adrian King said Thursday's decision in the long-running fight could be appealed by the three tobacco companies that won an arbitration decision last year.

The companies agreed to a 1998 pact that requires them to pay states for the costs of health care for smokers. But they challenged whether Pennsylvania appropriately collected payments from other tobacco companies based on 2003 sales.

Officials estimate that Pennsylvania's loss could be about $60 million off the approximately $330 million it receives annually from the 1998 settlement. It had stood to lose about $170 million because of the arbitration decision.

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