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Proposal For Cigarette Tax To Fund Philadelphia Schools May Be Going Up In Smoke

(credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/Getty Images)

(credit: KAZUHIRO NOGI/Getty Images)

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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) - Prospects for approval of a cigarette tax increase to fund Philadelphia schools before state lawmakers’ summer recess have hit rough waters.

Steve Miskin, spokesman for House majority Republican leaders, says Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and School Superintendent William Hite have met with those leaders to advocate for Philadelphia school funding, centering on the cigarette tax proposal.

Miskin claims Philadelphia House Democrats have not come to the table.

“Right now, I’m not even aware that they even came and said ‘we support a cigarette tax’,” he said. “So the fact that they’re all standing firm to be a ‘no’ on everything does not help Philadelphia schools’ cause.”

Cherelle Parker, head of the Philadelphia House Delegation, says her members have made clear their support for the cigarette tax proposal.

“We are very clear about it,” Parker said. How can I not be clear about it when I have a bill that’s introduced, and Philadelphians are co-sponsors on the bill?”

But Miskin says unless there’s a dramatic change, the cigarette tax proposal for Philadelphia schools is not on the table.