Gov. Mark Sanford said Tuesday he will veto the General Assembly-passed cigarette tax increase.
Sanford said signing the legislation into law would amount to a $1.3 billion tax increase, the largest in a generation.
"The numbers are irrefutable -- we are going to veto the bill," Sanford said at a crowded midday press conference in his office.
With state revenue in a serious decline, the Legislature approved a 50 cent increase this year, which would have raised the tax -- the lowest in the nation, to 57 cents.
The state faces a $1.2 billion shortfall next year, and lawmakers see the cigarette tax increase as a revenue generator.