South Carolina - lawmakers may disappoint again on cigarette tax increase..

May 11, 2009 - Hopes are dimming fast that South Carolina (SC) lawmakers will raise the state's lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax this legislative session. The argument for the past several years including this year has been about how to spend the money, not about raising the tax. The discrepancies between the House and Senate versions seem insurmountable, especially with the legislature planning to adjourn May 21.

Last year, the legislature passed a bill that would have raised the tax to 47 cents a pack. But Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed it, and lawmakers sustained his veto. Sanford has vowed to veto any bill that doesn't offset a cigarette tax increase with a cut in taxes. But lawmakers could overturn his veto. And the 97-22 vote in the House signaled they would.

SC with a lowest tax by far on a pack of cigarettes will be the laughing stock of the nation. The states along with SC that had the lowest tax have have approved a tax increase. In Kentucky the cigarette tax doubles from 30 cents to 60 cents per pack and Mississippi is on the verge a passing a tax increase. It will SC at 7-cents, KY at 60-cents and MS at 68-cents for a pack of cigarettes. SC ranked dead last in the nation for funding programs to prevent children from using tobacco, 10 years after receiving nearly $1 billion in a landmark case against the tobacco industry. South Carolina to spend NO money on tobacco prevention...

Don't get the idea these people are healthy - SC has a higher occurrence of common causes of death when compared with the whole country.

In 2008 the South Carolina state health ranking was 48th; it was 42nd in 2007.

Cities/Counties in SC have taken on their own to pass smoking ban legislation. The latest smoking ban when into effect on May 1, 2009 for residents of Rock Hill and the unincorporated areas of York County.

Reference: Lawmakers may disappoint again on cigarette tax,, 5/9/2007.

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