By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) — In a major breakthrough for city and school district officials, the state House Wednesday night passed a bill that would authorize a cigarette tax to help close the Philadelphia school district’s deficit.

After the House vote Wednesday night, Mayor Michael Nutter called it “possibly one of the greatest turnarounds” in recent legislative history.

WATCH: House Passes Cigarette Tax For Philadelphia Schools

“You know, when we arrived on Sunday, I think we felt we had virtually no chance that this was going to happen. On Monday, things looked even worse. And then we had a bit of a breakthrough,” Nutter said.

That breakthrough came when the state Senate approved language authorizing the $2 per pack cigarette tax for city schools and sent that bill to the House where the task of winning approval was deemed to be tougher.

But the school funding bill isn’t out of the legislative woods just yet. The House made an amendment to the bill unrelated to the cigarette tax language so the measure will need a second vote in the Senate.


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