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Councilwoman proposes e-cigarette tax to help fund Philly schools

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Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown proposes a tax on e-cigarettes to help fund city schools. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown proposes a tax on e-cigarettes to help fund city schools. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A Philadelphia councilwoman wants a tax on e-cigarettes that would be dedicated to the city’s public schools.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown said she’d like the city to tax the nicotine-based fluid used in electronic cigarettes and other accessories to help the struggling school district.

“Two states have already successfully gotten this done,” she said Thursday. “We are going to examine it … we cannot tell yet the amount of dollars it is going to yield.”

Reynolds Brown says “vaping,” or using an e-cigarette, is growing quickly. The tax is necessary, she said,  especially in light of the city’s new $2-per-pack cigarette tax.

“We don’t need state authorization because this is a new, unprecedented, untested area,” Reynolds Brown said.

“What we do know is that $1 million would bring 10 nurses back,” she said, referring to districtwide personnel cutbacks.

The e-cigarettes would be taxed at $2 each, and nicotine solutions taxed by the milliliter, up to a maximum of $5 per transaction.

A hearing on the bill is next, but has not been scheduled.

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