By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — After a key committee vote this afternoon, the Pennsylvania House is poised to vote within the next week on a bill to authorize a cigarette tax to fund Philadelphia schools.

For some, it was déjà vu: the House passed a bill more than two months ago to authorize the cigarette tax for city schools.  But then the bill got bogged down in a spat between the House and Senate over language unrelated to Philadelphia schools.

The House Rules Committee this afternoon again passed a bill without that unrelated language favored by the state senate, but Mayor Nutter — in Harrisburg for the vote — says he is optimistic that this time things will be different.

Nutter says when lawmakers were last in session, there was a lot more going on in the state capitol.

(Mayor Michael Nutter, photographed in the Pa. capitol on the day the House Rules Committee approved a cigarette tax for Philadelphia.  Photo by Tony Romeo)

(Mayor Michael Nutter, photographed in the Pa. capitol on the day the House Rules Committee approved a cigarette tax for Philadelphia. Photo by Tony Romeo)

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“The budget was still being done.  There was talk about a lot of other policy matters,” Nutter recalls.  “I think legislators seem to have come back here in September with the Philadelphia authorization vote at the forefront.”

The mayor says he’s grateful for the legislature’s focus on the issue and believes that discussions over the summer have developed a “pathway” to getting it done.

 

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