By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — After months of anticipation while lawmakers wrangled over it, Gov. Tom Corbett this morning finally signed the bill authorizing a $2-per-pack cigarette tax to help fund Philadelphia’s schools.
Philadelphia schools superintendent William Hite (seated at left in photo) was exuberant as he spoke just before the ceremony to sign the cigarette tax bill:
“For the first time while in Harrisburg, I’m actually smiling and celebrating,” he said.
But state senator Anthony Williams (D-Phila., standing third from right in photo), prime backer of the bill, was more subdued.
“I’m grateful,” he said. “But I want you to understand I’m not elated. I’m not kicking up my heels, I’m not clapping in applause, I’m not patting myself on the back. Because for all the niceties that the superintendent and the chairman of the SRC (Philadelphia School Reform Commission) said, they know there’s a lot more work to be done.”
Gov. Corbett had previously said he had already directed the state Department of Revenue to take steps to begin collecting cigarette tax revenues almost immediately.
The $2 surtax will only be collected in Philadelphia.