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$2 Cigarette Tax to Fund Philly Schools in Limbo

Superintendent William R. Hite issued a statement saying Tuesday’s turn of events puts the schools in a state of uncertainty.

The fate of a $2 tax on cigarettes in Philadelphia to fund public schools is in jeopardy.

The state Senate on Tuesday made changes to a bill that would allow Philadelphia to levy a $2 per pack cigarette tax to fund the public schools. 

A Republican spokesperson told the Philadelphia Inquirer it would be difficult to get the votes for the amended version in the House, which passed the bill last week.

The bill passed by the Senate puts a five-year limit on the cigarette tax, CBS Philly reported. 

The tax was expected to generate $80 million in its first year and avoid layoffs, according to the Inquirer.

Superintendent William R. Hite issued a statement saying Tuesday’s turn of events puts the schools in a state of uncertainty.

“With schools scheduled to open in less that two months, it is crucial that we secure the needed funding to support our students and schools. There is no clear timetable for House consideration on this amended bill, nor any guarantee of final passage. We implore the House and Senate to come to agreement immediately on cigarette tax legislation that does not include a sunset provision,” Hite said in a statement. 

Governor Corbett supports the cigarette tax and last week urged the Senate to pass the bill after it went through in the House.  

"We have worked for over a year, above the partisan politics, to put the students of Philadelphia first. I urge the Senate to concur on this much-needed relief for Philadelphia's schools,” Corbett said. 

dwayne roberson July 10, 2014 at 07:09 AM
In 2008 Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman presided over record deficits, unethical bidding and test score cheating. Mayor Nutter forced her to agree to resign for a settlement of $905,000 and an additional $86,000 for unused vacation pay. By Nov.2011 Ackerman had filed for unemployment compensation. This is how they spend education funds in Philadelphia. If you think they have the best interest of the children in mind I have plenty of $50 a pack Marlboroughs and several bridges available for purchase.
Bob Lentz July 10, 2014 at 08:41 AM
Corbett approved the cig tax ? When you're in a hole Tom you don't keep digging .
Bob Lentz July 10, 2014 at 08:45 AM
A five year limit on the cig tax ? If you believe that I have a city that was flooded 100 years ago and we're still paying the Johnstown flood tax . This is the tax and spend state , once the taxes are on they never go off cuz they like spending money and wams .

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