Philadelphia, May 15, 2013– Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined by Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite, State Senator Anthony Williams and City officials, announced a package of proposals to provide $95 million in new funding to the Philadelphia School District. The proposed revenue package includes an increase in the liquor by the drink tax, a new, City cigarette tax and money generated from improved tax collection efforts.
“The future success of our young people and the continued growth of Philadelphia’s 21st century economy depends on our children receiving a high quality education and rich learning experience. The Philadelphia School District serves 200,000 Philadelphia children each day while operating under a severe budget shortfall. That shortfall requires a shared sacrifice from the City, the State, the School District and the unions to ensure our children receive the education they deserve,” said Mayor Nutter. “This package of revenue proposals is sustainable, substantial and doable. It is a $95 million investment in the education of our youth and, I hope, the first act in a series to make the needs of our children the top priority.”
The proposed liquor by the drink tax would increase the existing tax from 10% to 15%. This increase will generate an additional $22 million and would take effect July 1, 2013.
The new, $2 per pack City cigarette tax will begin January 1, 2014. This proposed tax will generate $45 million for the School District during its first half-year. Approximately $1 million, generated during the first half-year of the City cigarette tax, will fund the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Smoking Cessation Program.
The increase to the liquor by the drink tax and the new, City cigarette tax proposal will require Pennsylvania General Assembly authorization and City Council approval. In Harrisburg, the increase to the liquor by the drink tax is Bill No. SD944 and the City cigarette tax is Bill No. SD945. Both pieces of legislation will be introduced shortly.
In addition, Mayor Nutter detailed that revenue generated by improved tax collections would generate an additional $28 million in FY14. These collections improvements will focus on delinquent real estate taxes, liquor by the drink, Use and Occupancy, and school income taxes.
“We appreciate the work by Mayor Michael A. Nutter, City Council and the Philadelphia State delegation to bridge the School District of Philadelphia’s financial gap,” said Superintendent Dr. Hite. “Their support is vital to ensuring our long-term sustainability, improved academic outcomes and critical school support staff and programs.”