Americans for Tax Reform applauds South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford for announcing his veto today of House Bill 3584, legislation that would impose a more than 700% increase on cigarettes sold in the Palmetto State.

While announcing his veto of what would be the largest tax increase in South Carolina in over a quarter-century, Sanford made clear that he considers calls for higher taxes to be a non-starter in the current economy and that the problem lies in state overspending, not a lack of tax revenue.

In fact, while the unemployment rate doubled during the last two years and families across the state were cutting back and prioritizing, state spending has continued to increase.

Sanford’s principled insistence that any increase in the state cigarette tax be offset with corresponding tax relief also serves to illustrate the hypocrisy of tobacco tax hike proponents, who insist that their dogged push for higher taxes is done for the sake of the children and to improve public health. Yet, Sanford has made it clear for years that he would go along with a tobacco tax increase, provided that it wasn’t a tool to raise revenue and fund unsustainable state spending. However, HB 3584 proponents’ refusal to craft the bill in a revenue neutral manner demonstrates that cheerleaders for higher cigarette taxes aren’t in this “for the children” and that the ultimate goal is simply more money for government coffers.

ATR commends Gov. Sanford for wielding his veto pen in defense of South Carolina taxpayers and employers. A two-thirds vote of the legislature is required to overturn Sanford’s veto. ATR is reaching out and urging all South Carolina legislators to sustain Sanford’s veto.

For the Governor's statement on the veto, Click Here