Anti-Taxation with Tobacco Representation

Smoking Burning MoneyR.J. Reynolds (RJR) may be funding a South Carolina anti-tax group to oppose a cigarette tax for health care. The Cover Carolina Collaborative, a group of health care organizations, is proposing that the state's tax be raised to $1.00 a pack, to help cover uninsured employees. South Carolina currently has the lowest cigarette tax in the nation, at seven cents a pack. The South Carolina Association of Taxpayers (SCAT) mailed out 10,000 postcards to Republican activists. The postcards call the measure a "$190 million unfunded taxpayer mandate" and urge recipients to "stop this HillaryCare styled welfare plan." South Carolina Senate staffers say a chart on the postcard is the same as one that RJR lobbyists previously showed state senators. RJR refused to say whether they are funding the SCAT anti-tax group. A member of the Cover Carolina Collaborative said, "If R.J. Reynolds wants to come out and oppose it, come out and oppose it, but don't hide behind the faces of taxpayers."