House approves bill raising cigarette tax

Image by flickr user SuperFantasticImage by 20080521cigarette.jpg

The S.C. House of Representatives has approved a 50-cent-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes. The estimated $159 million it would raise would go mainly to provide health-care for low-income residents.

The bill passed the house 63 to 57. It has now been returned to the Senate so the House's amendments (such as setting aside $1 million for agriculture) can be voted on.

The bill was introduced in the house Feb. 21, 2007.

The tax was last increased 31 years ago, and is currently the nation's lowest, at 7 cents. The increase would tie us for 39th with Idaho.