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.READ MORE: How Philadelphia Archdiocese Catholic Schools Have Maintained Full-Time, In-Person Learning During Pandemic
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.READ MORE: Philadelphia Area Schools, Bookstores Respond After 6 Dr. Seuss Books Stop Publishing Due To Racist, Insensitive Imagery
“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.MORE NEWS: Stadium Guide: What You Need To Know Before Heading Out To Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park