PCAPS Statement on Passage of Cigarette Tax

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Cigarette Tax Passes, The Challenge to Fund Our Schools Remains

 

After months of wrangling the legislature finally adopted the controversial cigarette tax which will allow Philadelphia to levy a two dollar a pack tax in the city.   The good news is that, assuming the Governor signs it quickly, the District will be able to avert laying off a thousand school employees, cuts that would have driven class size over forty and rendered the schools, in the words of Dr. Hite, “empty shells.”

 

The bad news is that this new revenue is woefully inadequate and does not even insure last year’s “bare bones” levels.   Mayor Nutter’s characterization of the vote as “a fantastic victory” will be a head scratcher for students, parents and school workers who know what things are really like in our schools.

 

A better assessment came from State Senator Vincent Hughes who said: “We should be very clear that this new stream of local funding does not scratch the surface of what the School District of Philadelphia truly needs to offer real opportunities to all of our students.”

 

Now the challenge is to find more revenue to restore the cuts and move the District forward.   The SRC is still wrongly focused on finding that revenue in the wallets of school employees.   Instead there needs to be a concerted fight for equitable state funding including taxing Marcellus shale, closing corporate loopholes, and accepting federal Medicaid dollars.

 

The first week of school saw protests across the city against another year of bare bones funding. Those demonstrations need to continue. Corbett and his allies cannot be let off the hook because they allowed Philadelphia to tax its smokers. Education voters need to go the polls in November to send the message that we want investment in quality schools for all children.

 

Cigarette Tax Passes, The Challenge to Fund Our Schools Remains

 

After months of wrangling the legislature finally adopted the controversial cigarette tax which will allow Philadelphia to levy a two dollar a pack tax in the city.   The good news is that, assuming the Governor signs it quickly, the District will be able to avert laying off a thousand school employees, cuts that would have driven class size over forty and rendered the schools, in the words of Dr. Hite, “empty shells.”

 

The bad news is that this new revenue is woefully inadequate and does not even insure last year’s “bare bones” levels.   Mayor Nutter’s characterization of the vote as “a fantastic victory” will be a head scratcher for students, parents and school workers who know what things are really like in our schools.

 

A better assessment came from State Senator Vincent Hughes who said: “We should be very clear that this new stream of local funding does not scratch the surface of what the School District of Philadelphia truly needs to offer real opportunities to all of our students.”

 

Now the challenge is to find more revenue to restore the cuts and move the District forward.   The SRC is still wrongly focused on finding that revenue in the wallets of school employees.   Instead there needs to be a concerted fight for equitable state funding including taxing Marcellus shale, closing corporate loopholes, and accepting federal Medicaid dollars.

 

The first week of school saw protests across the city against another year of bare bones funding. Those demonstrations need to continue. Corbett and his allies cannot be let off the hook because they allowed Philadelphia to tax its smokers. Education voters need to go the polls in November to send the message that we want investment in quality schools for all children.

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One Response to PCAPS Statement on Passage of Cigarette Tax

  1. I sent another message to The Governor that I would like to speak to him about the challenges that us parents and educators face. I was sent a message on what I thought about the debate, and asked to be a volunteer for his campaign, but I told him hat I would like to hear directly from him and have him answer the questions I want answered. Face to face. As a voter and citizen, he as a public servant,owes us at least that.

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