Just in case you missed, or got whiplash trying to follow, the peremptory manner in which the House threw out the idea of even a modest increase in our lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax, Cindi Scoppe relates a few salient facts about it on today’s editorial page — including the one about how the money would have gone to helping the state get serious, for the first time, about youth smoking prevention and cessation (beyond the fact, of course, that increasing the tax in an of itself exerts downward pressure on the rate of teenage smoking).
What Cindi didn’t have room for in her column was how they voted. I’ll supply that:
The House voted 58-53 to table a budget amendment that would have increased the cigarette tax by 30 cents a pack.
Here’s the amendment, followed by the vote:
/64 (DOR: Cigarette tax) (A) In addition to the tax imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620(1), there is imposed an additional tax equal to 1.5 cents on each cigarette made of tobacco or any substitute for tobacco. The tax imposed pursuant to this paragraph must be reported, paid, collected, and enforced in the same manner as the tax imposed pursuant to Section 12-21-620(1).
(B) There are created in the state treasury, separate and distinct from the general fund of the State, the Youth Smoking Prevention and Cessation Fund and the South Carolina Health and Prevention Fund. Four percent of the revenue generated by this additional tax must be credited to the Youth Smoking Prevention and Cessation Fund and monies in the fund must be used by the Department of Health and Environmental Control in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control recommended comprehensive programs using best practices for youth smoking prevention and cessation programs. One percent of the revenue generated by this additional tax must be credited to the Department of Agriculture for research and promotion of healthy lifestyles with food grown in this State. The remaining revenue generated by this additional tax must be credited to the South Carolina Health and Prevention Fund. The General Assembly shall appropriate the monies from the South Carolina Health and Prevention Fund to critical programs that meet health needs of South Carolinians, including using funds for a Medicaid match each year, as needed. The monies credited to these funds are exempt from budgetary cuts or reductions caused by the lack of general fund revenues. Earnings on investments of monies in the funds must be credited to the respective fund and used for the same purposes as other monies in the funds. Any monies in the funds not expended during the fiscal year must be carried forward to the succeeding fiscal year and used for the same purposes./
Voting to table the amendment (58)
E. H. Pitts
G. R. Smith
J. R. Smith
W. D. Smith
Voting to support the amendment (53)
J. H. Neal
J. M. Neal
D. C. Smith
G. M. Smith
J. E. Smith