South Carolina House, with 50 "No New Taxes" Pledge signers, plots 471% cigarette tax increase.

WASHINGTON – Two weeks ago, the South Carolina Senate voted against a $0.22 cigarette tax increase, originally intended to provide funding and fixing economic shortfalls in the Medicaid budget. Today, the House will vote on a budget amendment, increasing the cigarette tax from $0.07 to $0.40 – an astronomical 471% increase.

Fifty members of the South Carolina House have signed the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which reads: "I pledge to the taxpayers of [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."

"The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is not a matter of convenience," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington and who created the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 1986. "The Pledge is taken seriously by taxpayers who want their elected officials to represent their interests by opposing all new taxes. All South Carolina legislators should think twice before voting to hike taxes – because voters tend to remember broken promises."

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 www.atr.org.

"All states are currently facing the economic shortfalls in their Medicaid budgets," continued Norquist, "and South Carolina should set the example by having a comprehensive review of the Medicaid system – not short-term band aid solutions like this increase."

Below is a list of South Carolina House members who have signed the Pledge:

J. Gresham Barrett (H-1)
William Sandifer III (H-2)
Alf B. Robinson, Jr. (H-5)
Brian White (H-6)
Ronald Townsend (H-7)
Michael Thompson (H-9)
Daniel T. Cooper (H-10)
Harry Stille (H-11)
James Klauber (H-13)
Dwight Loftis (H-19)
Glenn Hamilton (H-20)
Bob Leach (H-21)
David Wilkins (H-24)
Rex Fontaine Rice (H-26)
Mike Easterday (H-27)
Dan Tripp (H-28)
Doug Smith (H-32)
Lanny Littlejohn (H-33)
Phillip Sinclair (H-35)
Merita Ann Allison (H-36)
Ralph Davenport (H-37)
Robert Walker (H-38)
Ronald N. Fleming (H-42)
Gary Simrill (H-46)
Herb Kirsh (H-47)
Becky Meacham-Richardson (H-48)
James McGee, III (H-63)
Murrell Smith, Jr. (H-68)
John W. Riser (H-69)
Richard Quinn, Jr. (H-71)
Joe E. Brown (H-73)
James Harrison (H-75)
Bill Cotty (H-79)
J. Roland Smith (H-84)
Charles Sharpe (H-86)
Larry L. Koon (H-87)
Jake Knotts, Jr. (H-88)
Kenneth Bingham (H-89)
Shirley Hinson (H-92)
Converse Chellis (H-94)
Elsie Rast Stuart (H-96)
Annette Young-Brickell (H-98)
W.D.Witherspoon(H-105)
Mark S. Kelley (H-107)
Wallace Scarborough (H-115)
John Graham Altman, III (H-119)
Bill Bowers (H-120)
Jo Anne Gilham (H-123)
Edie Rodgers (H-124)