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One Pa. Lawmaker Has Doubts About Passage of Phila. Cigarette Tax For Schools

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(School District of Philadelphia headquarters, near Broad and Spring Garden Streets.  File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(School District of Philadelphia headquarters, near Broad and Spring Garden Streets. 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) — A GOP member of the Pennsylvania House from the Philadelphia suburbs is claiming that a scheduled Monday session to address Philadelphia school funding is in jeopardy.

Rep. Mike Vereb (R-Montgomery County) confirms that supporters of a $2-per-pack city cigarette tax to raise funds for Philadelphia schools are having trouble rounding up enough votes to pass it in the House.

“Obviously we want to pass the legislation,” Vereb tells KYW Newsradio, “so we’re out, literally beating the bushes with members, trying to come up with 102 votes.  And if we’re not going to have 102 ‘yes’ votes for this legislation, than there’s really no purpose in coming back on Monday.”

One problem has to do with language inserted in the bill that is unrelated to Philadelphia schools.  Some members who support the Philadelphia cigarette tax support that language, too, even though Republican leaders do not.

Vereb also says if the House does not return Monday, it could still return later in August to address the issue.

Efforts to get comment from the Republican majority leader’s office have gone unanswered for more than 24 hours.

 

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