South Carolina House permanently tables cigarette tax amendment with 55-50 vote.

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the South Carolina House voted to permanently table an amendment to the Senate-approved budget. The amendment called for a 471% increase (from $0.07 to $0.40 per pack) to provide funding to fix economic shortfalls in the state Medicaid budget.

And with a 55 to 50 vote in favor of tabling the amendment permanently, South Carolina taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief.

"I commend the legislators who kept to the Pledge by not allowing this amendment to go forth for debate," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "The Pledge is taken seriously by taxpayers and forces legislators to amend their outlandish spending practices instead of creating band-aid solutions like raising taxes. Taxpayers remember those representatives who break their promises and will think twice before supporting a legislator who reneges on their word," he continued.

Norquist created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 1986, to build support for then President Reagan\’s tax reform platform. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge reads, "I pledge to the taxpayers of my [my] district in the state of South Carolina and to all the people of this state that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." Currently, President George W. Bush, 249 members of Congress, 9 governors and over 1,250 state legislators have signed the Pledge nationwide. A list of pledge signers can be found on ATR\’s website at

"South Carolina has set the example for the rest of the country, and states with economic shortfalls should follow suit," continued Norquist. "A comprehensive review of government funded programs like Medicaid is urgently needed for a long-term solution, and legislators need to dedicate their efforts to doing this – not take the easy way out by raising taxes for a short-term fix."