Philadelphia Politicians Hopeful As Pa. Senate Prepares to Vote on Cigarette Tax

By Mike DeNardo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The Pennsylvania state Senate convenes tomorrow to vote on the House-passed cigarette tax to fund Philadelphia schools.

State senator Anthony “Hardy” Williams (D-Phila.) says the future of the cigarette tax is by no means a slam dunk in the state senate.

“While there has been a lot of backslapping and clapping and ‘We finally got it done,’ we have not gotten it done,” he warns.

The House-passed version contained an amendment expanding the appeal rights of charter school applicants who have been rejected by the School Reform Commission — something Williams says not all in the Philadelphia delegation were happy about.

The tax is expected to generate about $40 million for schools this year. Mayor Nutter says that’s enough to assure schools open in September.

“(If) the cigarette tax goes into effect, there’s no question as to whether or not schools will open on time. They will,” Nutter said today.


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