Cigarette tax approved by state senate

Gov. Tom Corbett
Gov. Tom Corbett | The Office of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett

The state senate approved a bill on Tuesday that would allow the School District of Philadelphia to levy a $2 tax on each pack of cigarettes sold, but state Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams said it doesn't solve the  education funding problem plaguing Pennsylvania.

"While this is a significant revenue stream for Philly schools, it is also the epitome of what is wrong with Pennsylvania," Williams said. "We are depending on cigarette smokers to close the financial hole that exists in the city."

Williams proposed the bill as a way for the school district to receive enough funding to be able to operate.

“This commonwealth needs to do much more to reverse course and re-dedicate itself to the mission of public education," Williams said. "We need a modern funding formula that fairly distributes the precious billions in revenue that we now pay to deliver a first-class education.

Gov. Tom Corbett is expected to sign the bill into law.

“I am pleased that both chambers have taken action on this legislation so that the Philadelphia School District, and more importantly, the students of Philadelphia, can benefit from it,” Corbett said. 

The bill is expected to provide $40 million in revenue this year and $83 million in 2015.

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