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Pa. Lawmaker Revives Idea Of Using Philadelphia Casino Tax Revenue To Fund Schools

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(Credit: Randall E. Scott)

(Credit: Randall E. Scott)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A Philadelphia state lawmaker is reviving his effort to have the city’s share of tax relief from casino revenues diverted to the School District instead.

Democrat Mike O’Brien says his bill to have gaming revenues redirected to city schools for five years is essentially the same as the one he introduced in the last two-year session of the legislature, with one difference.

“It’s basically the same. The only thing that’s different is the School District of Philadelphia is approximately $300 million short.”

But despite the deficit, Stephen Miskin – spokesman for the majority leader of the GOP-controlled House — says unless the city increases its funding and the teachers’ union is willing to accept concessions, it is unlikely the House will be more interested in O’Brien’s bill this time around.

“The city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers need to make education funding a priority.”

Miskin also notes that the House just voted to authorize a study of how Philadelphia’s share of casino revenues might be best used.

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