SC House looking at smaller cigarette tax increase

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina House members say they will lower a proposed increase in the state's cigarette tax to 30 cents a pack instead of the 50 cents the Senate approved last week.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Cooper of Piedmont said Wednesday the proposal would still go along in large part with the Senate's plans to set up a trust fund to cover future Medicaid program cost increases.

South Carolina's current cigarette tax is at 7 cents a pack - the lowest in the nation. It hasn't been increased since 1977.

A 30 cent increase would generate nearly $90 million. The Senate's 50 cent increase would have generated $130 million.

Cooper says the House also wants to set aside money for agricultural marketing that the Senate rejected.

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