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S.C. Senate Approves 50-Cent Cigarette Tax Increase

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The South Carolina Senate has agreed to raise the cigarette tax 50 cents per pack in the state with the lowest cigarette taxes in the nation, but Gov. Mark Sanford is expected to veto the measure.

The State reported April 1 that the legislation would raise the cigarette tax from 7 cents a pack to 57 cents a pack. If signed by Sanford, the measure would raise an estimated $129 million in revenues for a smoking-cessation program, as well as add funding to the state’s Medicaid trust fund to offset the costs of treating sick smokers.

The debate over the bill raged for eight hours, and observers said the Senate probably does not have the votes to override a Sanford veto. South Carolina has not raised its cigarette taxes since 1977.

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