Senate approves the 57 cent cigarette tax (update: Overridden!)

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Update May 13: And the Senate has overridden. The tax is now law.

South Carolina now has the 9th lowest cigarette tax in the nation.

Update May 12: The House has overridden the veto and the tax is being sent to the Senate for approval.

Update May 12:

On Tuesday afternoon Governor Mark Sanford once again killed the proposed cigarette tax increase, but this time the votes may be there to override his veto.

Sanford consistently has said he would not support a cigarette tax hike without a corresponding tax cut. Now it is all up to the  South Carolina House  to override Sanford's veto, and, according to The State, "Two- thirds of the lawmakers in the GOP-controlled House have to vote to overturn the governor's veto. The Senate likely has the votes to overturn. However, it's unclear if 83 of the House's 124 members will vote to override the governor's veto."

Hop over to The State's article for the details.

It's been a decade long battle, but on Wednesday the Senate voted to agree to the House version of a bill to raise the tax on cigarettes from 7 cents per pack to 57 cents a pack.

The tax increase is designed to pay for $125 million in state-run health care programs for low-income residents and $5 million each for smoking cessation and cancer research. All sounds good and dandy doesn't it?

Read more stories on this subject in our cigarette tax topic page.Not quite.

Governor Mark Sanford is strongly opposed to the tax increase, or any tax increase for that matter. Sanford is expected to veto the bill, but S.C. House lawmakers think they can muster the votes needed to overturn it.

Read all about it in The State.

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