SC Senate debates cigarette tax increase veto

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina's cigarette tax would lose its lowest-in-the-nation status if the state Senate overrides Gov. Mark Sanford's veto.

The Senate was debating the veto Thursday.

Sanford rejected raising the 7 cents-a-pack tax that's been on the books since 1977 to 57 cents because the Legislature didn't offset the increase with lower taxes elsewhere. The House on Wednesday easily the overrode the veto on a 90-29 vote. It's the Senate's turn to try to come up with the two-thirds vote needed to force the increase.

Meanwhile the House upheld Sanford's veto of plans to increase state civil court fees with a 58-51 vote.

Opponents said the increases would have cost people who need to do business with courts. Supporters say court layoffs may result from the lack of fee increases.

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