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By FITSNews || For those of you who didn’t read the fine print, a sliver of the $136 million cigarette tax hike approved by the S.C. Senate on Wednesday was diverted from the ill-conceived “Obamacare Trust Fund.”

Ordinarily, we’d say that’s a good thing … although there’s nothing really “good” about either the House or Senate cigarette tax hikes.  For example, neither plan includes long-overdue agency restructuring, fraud protections or eligibility reform, and neither plan incorporates offsetting tax cuts elsewhere in the state code.

Also, every penny of this tax hike will be eaten up by Obamacare premium increases over the next few years, begging the question “where will lawmakers raises taxes next?”

Yeah … sooner or later we’re all going to be on the hook.

Anyway, as bad a taxpayer investment as the so-called “South Carolina Medicaid Reserve Fund” is, it’s got nothing on the mini-boondoggle that lawmakers attached to the bill.

According to an amendment adopted prior to passage of the tax hike, lawmakers routed $2.7 million to the S.C. Department of Agriculture “to cause the marketing and branding of South Carolina agricultural crops or produce as being grown in South Carolina when offered for sale in retail establishments.”

That’s right, people … the “Palmettovore” campaign is back!  And amazingly, the S.C. Senate wants to blow more of your money on this ridiculous government-funded marketing subsidy for one of the state’s most liberal PR firms.

What is a “Palmettovore?”

It’s a colossal waste of taxpayer money, that’s what it is.

Where does it go, you may ask? Well, this estimated $2.7 million appropriation – which is recurring funding (i.e. funding that’s devoted to this source for the duration of the proposed tax hike) – happens to be just enough to cover the annual Palmettovore PR bill with Chernoff Newman, the left-leaning Columbia, S.C. public relations firm that is running both the “Palmettovore” and “SC Grown” ad campaigns.

Amazing … the same agency that’s bitching about “budget cuts” to public education is secretly pocketing $2.5 million so a bunch of Fruit of the Loom characters can dance around on the State House steps?

As we’ve said in the past, we’re all for South Carolinians purchasing “homegrown” food, people.  In fact we purchase S.C. grown food whenever we can (i.e. whenever it makes sense fiscally).

But forcing taxpayers to pick up the marketing tab for this effort?

That’s patently unfair … unless of course you think that government should pick up the marketing tab for every other “homegrown” industry and/or business in South Carolina.