Philadelphia, September 23, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter released the following statement on the Pennsylvania Senate’s concurrence of the House of Representatives approved legislation enabling the City to enact a $2 per pack cigarette tax to help fund the School District of Philadelphia:
“I want to thank the Philadelphia House and Senate delegation and the entire Pennsylvania House and State Senate for adopting HB 1177. Today’s vote is a step forward and the result of strong bi-partisan leadership in both the House and Senate, the Philadelphia delegation, and legislators across the Commonwealth. I also want to thank Council President Darrell Clarke and all of City Council for their commitment to the children of Philadelphia in passing the Cigarette Tax in the spring of 2013.
The Philadelphia Cigarette Tax will provide critically important local revenue to the Philadelphia School District. With this action today, the District will not have to make the painful decision to cut a thousand School District jobs. But, I want to be clear: while the revenue generated by the Cigarette Tax was essential to balancing the District’s budget, it is not sufficient funding to provide the high-quality education that every Philadelphia student deserves.
We hope that the passage of this enabling legislation is only the beginning of a new approach to the fair and full funding of public education in Pennsylvania. The students in this Commonwealth deserve a high-quality education with better than adequate resources, safe schools, and full staffs. We need a statewide, student-weighted funding formula to ensure our students have access to the education they need to be successful.
I want to thank Governor Tom Corbett for his vocal support of this legislation throughout the process, and I am looking forward to him signing it into law in the near future.”