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Oh says he can scrounge $70 million for Philly schools

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With prospects of a cigarette tax for Philadelphia burning down in Harrisburg, a Republican councilman is searching the city’s proverbial couch cushions for cash.  

Councilman David Oh, one of three Republicans on council, said he and his staff have gone over Philadelphia’s budget and taken some dollars from departments where they appear to have too much money to cobble together more funding for the public schools.

“In the mayor’s budget which he proposed, there is typically money that is somewhat in excess of what the department actually spends by the end of the year,” Oh said. “When you add it all up it’s about $74 million that we could look at.”

Oh says he understands it’s taking money away from many city departments, but he says that’s a better option than raising other taxes if as expected, Harrisburg lawmakers won’t authorize a city cigarette tax.

“The problem for me is if we don’t put that option on the table and we come to a last minute decision and the cigarette tax has not worked out then this body has raised taxes and I’m opposed to raising any taxes on the citizens of Philadelphia,” he said.

Oh says he’s just putting the amendment in as an option during final budget negotiations.

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