SC Senate could send cigarette tax to governor

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COLUMBIA - South Carolina senators could send Gov. Mark Sanford a 50-cent cigarette tax increase.

The Senate today is expected to take up the final changes the House made several weeks ago to the nation's lowest cigarette tax. The current tax of 7 cents a pack hasn't changed since 1977 when a pack cost 48 cents.

Senators nearly agreed to send the legislation to Sanford on Tuesday. However, they're reconsidering their original vote in debate set for today.

The legislation generates about $125 million for Medicaid programs. It also provides $5 million each for cancer research and efforts to cut down on smoking and $1 million for agricultural product marketing.

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