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Corbett calls for pension reform before he’ll OK Philly cigarette tax

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania’s Gov. Corbett says Democratic state lawmakers should pony up votes to pass a public pension overhaul bill if they want Philadelphia to be allowed to increase a tax on cigarettes for schools funding.

The Republican-controlled House and Senate have been unable to pass the pension proposal, one of the governor’s top priorities.

"This is one where the Philadelphia delegation has the ability to help the School District of Philadelphia far more than any one delegation can," Corbett said during an impromptu press conference he held in his office Sunday.

"There aren’t quite enough votes on the Republican side," Corbett said, referring to the pension benefits overhaul bill. He urged the Democratic Philadelphia delegation "to deal and give" their votes to the proposal in return for the cigarette tax authorization. "It’s in their hands," Corbett said.

"I’m giving them the option to help their school district," he added.

House and Senate Democratic leaders responded swiftly, saying the governor should be "ashamed" of linking the two issues.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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