Philly Mayor says schools would be in trouble without proposed cigarette tax

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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says there could be dire consequences if Harrisburg lawmakers do not approve creating a cigarette tax for the city. 

“Without the $80 million plus that would come from the cigarette tax we would not be able to open schools in September safely,” said Nutter.

The mayor says without the authority from Harrisburg to create the $2 per pack cigarette tax, there would have to be massive, additional cuts to school district personnel.

“If we don’t get these dollars 1,300 more people will lose their jobs that’s on top of the three thousand that were laid off last year we’ll have fewer personnel in the buildings, class size will explode to 41 students in a class in a number of circumstances,” he said. 

Gov. Tom Corbett has offered to approve the tax if he gets votes from Democratic lawmakers for pension reforms.

“There are some that are looking at the political side of this game rather than the student side and I would urge them to work on behalf of the students,” Corbett said. 

The Philadelphia School District is trying to find nearly $100 million just to keep staffing the same for the new school year.

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