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Senate approves 50-cent cigarette tax increase

Apr 14, 2010 8:08:00 PM - thestate.com
South Carolina senators have approved raising the nation's lowest cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack.

By a 32-12 vote, the Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to raising the current tax of 7 cents, which is expected to generate about $130 million for Medicaid programs.

The bill is now bound for a House conference committee and an almost certain veto by Gov. Mark Sanford.

South Carolina's current cigarette tax hasn't increased since 1977, when a pack cost 49 cents.

Senators were scrambling to make it more likely that raising the tax would survive a veto threat and agreed to strip plans to use part of the tax increase to pay for agriculture product marketing and rural projects.