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Philadelphia School Funding Proposal Falls Short In Late Night Maneuver

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(The headquarters of the School District of Philadelphia, on North Broad Street near Spring Garden.  File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(The headquarters of the School District of Philadelphia, on North Broad Street near Spring Garden. File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(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) — House Republican leaders Tuesday night thwarted an 11th hour effort by Philadelphia Democrats to get committee approval for a Philadelphia school funding proposal, despite support for the proposal from several Republicans on the committee.

Several Republican members of the House Rules Committee went along with a procedural vote to keep language that would authorize a cigarette tax for school funding out of a budget companion bill known as the fiscal code — in exchange for a promise to work toward a House vote on another bill approved by the Senate Tuesday that does contain the cigarette tax proposal. But House Majority Leader Mike Turzai would not tell reporters when that other bill, numbered 1177, might get a vote.

“As I said, we are working on the budget,” said Turzai.

(Reporter): “That’s not an answer. Are you going to bring 1177 to the floor?”

“We are working on the budget, Turzai said, “and we are going to continue with the fiscal code.”

Mayor Michael Nutter was encouraged by the show of Republican support for the cigarette tax.

“You could hear the comments in the room that certainly there were many Republicans who were in support of this legislation,” Nutter said, “and I believe if the legislation were to ever get to the floor, there would be good, strong bi-partisan support for it. So we’ll keep working.”

And while encouraged by the support of some GOP members, the mayor called the end result “disappointing and baffling.”

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