South Carolina - legislators eager to pass cigarette tax increase - the odds are against them??

January 12, 2009 - South Carolina legislators eager to raise the cigarette tax in 2009. Even Governor Sanford agrees with the idea of raising the cigarette tax. But again like last year - the lawmakers disagree on how the money should be spent.

Republican representatives Dan Cooper of Piedmont and Brian White of Anderson said, “They want to tax it to ban it and at the same time rely on the money for health care,” White said. “Do you want people to quit smoking, or do you want a source of funding?” More Cooper: Legislators should not try to prevent smoking through “nanny state” laws, Cooper said, noting his opposition to seat belt laws because of his personal freedom values. Cooper said cigarette laws could open the door forobesity laws, since both would involve health hazards.

At present, South Carolina spends NO money on tobacco prevention..

Cooper said he is concerned about the possible economic effect of the tax on convenience stores near South Carolina’s borders with Georgia and North Carolina but would reluctantly accept a 25-cent increase that didn’t increase the size of government. Georgia and North Carolina levy cigarette taxes of 37 cents and 35 cents, respectively, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators. South Carolina now has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation, 7 cents per pack.

If South Carolina raised its cigarette tax by 50 cents, to make it 57 cents per pack, there would be nine states with lower taxes (Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia), according to the Federation of Tax Administrators. Idaho levies a 57-cent per pack tax.

Related news briefs: South Carolina to spend NO money on tobacco prevention..; South Carolina (SC) will NOT devote any resources to anti-smoking programs..; In 2008 will the politicians do what's right for the State of South Carolina??; South Carolina - Tobacco Tax Increase Killed - State House Fails to Override Governor's Veto.. and Tobacco Tax Increase – What’s Wrong with South Carolina??

Reference: Cigarette tax increase coming this year to S.C., legislators say by Mike Ellis,, 1/10/2009.