Maybe it’s not exactly the Thrilla in Manila, but Jim Rex is touting an upcoming match-up with Henry McMaster with all the hype of a fight announcer saying, “And in THIS coah-nah…“. Today, the superintendent reTweeted the following Tweet from The State‘s John O’Connor:
That @HenryMcMaster-@JimRex cig tax debate? Round 1 will be Friday at the @schospitals candidate forum. Moderated by @BradWarthen.
Just to unwrap that for you a bit… On Friday, I’ll be moderating a gubernatorial debate in front of members of the S.C. Hospital Association. The room at Embassy Suites can’t hold any more people than the association is already expected without the fire marshal having a conniption, but the organization will be posting the video on its Web site afterwards, and when that happens I’ll either link to it or imbed it here on the blog.
While Rex may be touting it like a mano-a-mano between him and McMaster, there will be a number of other manos involved. Right now, six candidates will be expected: Those two, plus Vincent Sheheen, Andre Bauer, Dwight Drake and Robert Ford. I’m told Nikki Haley had at one point accepted the invitation, then bowed out.
But I can guarantee you that the candidates will have the chance to hash out the cigarette tax issue, as that is one that is near and dear to the association’s heart. Henry, in particular, will have some ‘splainin’ to do in front of that crowd (so give him props for showing up). I’ll be the one posing the questions, and while I haven’t finalized them yet, I plan on making that topic one of the first two or three I bring up. You can’t address many issues in 90 minutes with that many candidates on the stage, but we won’t leave without hearing their views on the cigarette tax.
I wish, wish, wish a portion of the revenue generated from a cigarette tax increase would be designated for smoking cessation programs AND lung cancer research/programs in our state.
Last year, lung cancer was diagnosed in 3,680 South Carolinians and tragically took the lives of another 2,880 citizens, as well.
If legislators raise cigarette taxes this year, however, they should do so not for budget reasons but for those related to public health. South Carolina should raise the cigarette tax only if legislators determine that it will make this a healthier state.
When taxes go up, cigarette use goes down. North Carolina has raised its cigarette tax twice in the past five years, and the percentage of the population smoking has dropped both times.
We must raise the tax and improve public health. To this day, I have yet to understand where the revenue from the Master Tobacco Settlement went???
We need to raise taxes because we need more revenue. We cannot cut any more and essential services are going without. I’m totally cool with raising the cigarette tax –the “power to tax is the power to destroy” McCulloch v. Maryland— and destroying cigarette use is a worthy goal.
but raising revenues is crucial, although no one is running on that platform as far as I know. We want guns AND butter!