SC lawmakers vote to keep cigarette tax hike

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina legislators voted Wednesday to keep a 30-cent cigarette tax increase in the state budget, but repeatedly rejected proposals to hike the tax any higher or raise money in other ways.

The House refused by a 106 to 12 vote to remove the 30-cent a pack increase from the state's $5 billion spending plan. That's down from $7 billion two years ago.

The House also voted overwhelmingly to keep a $10 million loan to the state's only PGA tournament in the state budget.

South Carolina's 7 cents-per-pack cigarette tax is the nation's lowest and has not changed since 1977. A 30-cent increase would make the tax equal to Georgia's and still 8 cents per pack cheaper than North Carolina's.

Nationwide, the average state cigarette tax is $1.34 per pack, with Rhode Island ranking first at $3.46.$19.8 million since 2007.

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