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No cigarette tax vote, but promise of funds to tide Philly over

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

After a fruitless meeting of Pennsylvania legislative leaders and the Corbett administration, a cigarette tax for Philadelphia city schools remains in limbo.

But despite the lack of legislative deal, work continues on sending the struggling School District a funding advance that will allow doors to open on time, lawmakers said.

A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett said Monday that there is no amount or date set for the funding advance, which could help the Philadelphia School District with cash flow problems, but not fill its budget gap.

The city is seeking the authority to impose a $2-a-pack tax on cigarettes to generate funds allowing the District to begin the school year on time.

A District spokesman said the school district will wait until Aug. 15 to decide whether the schools that opening will happen.

But House Speaker Sam Smith said Philadelphia’s leaders should trust that state lawmakers can pass the cigarette tax this fall.

"If it’s really about doing what’s best for the kids, well, the best thing for the kids would be to utilize the tools that are available to open the schools on time," said Smith, R-Jefferson.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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